Chapter 1: Answer That! (and stay fashionable!)
Title: Answer That (and stay fashionable!)
Series: High School AU - modern day
Word Count: 1094
Characters: Roy, Breda, Havoc, Chris Mustang (Madame Christmas)
Summary: Sometimes Breda wondered if he smoked too much weed. This was one of those times.
Warning: Drug use, cursing, teenage boys (they totally deserve their own warning)
Author's Notes: Haha, I swear this never happened to me in high school. Honest. And yes, I *was* entirely too eager for this prompt and wrote it two weeks ahead of time, thank you for asking.
It was Wednesday, and after three years of Wednesdays at Roy's aunt's place, Breda was good for the routine. Plus, Roy's aunt was a babe—Havoc agreed. Her tits kept them coming even when Roy's head was lodged so far up his own ass he couldn't speak coherently.
The weed didn't hurt, either.
Usually, they smoked in Roy's room. His aunt, awesome lady that she was, had given her nephew the pool house as his room, so they could all pretty much come and go whenever. Roy regularly went on about the three hundred girls he had coming in and out of the pool house at all hours. One time, when they were so blitzed he was sure Roy wouldn't remember it, Breda'd asked if Roy had a time sheet for all those women. "Like, wouldn't your dick be broken, after all that? There aren't enough hours in a day, man."
Roy hadn't answered, and later, Breda figured the asshole was exaggerating about his sexual prowess—pretty much like always.
Honestly, Roy made shit up all the time, like he was so bad ass. Breda and Havoc went along with it because Roy was an okay guy mostly, but sometimes he went a little far.
Havoc was working the seeds out of the dime bag they'd bought off Kimbley after classes that day. Breda was watching him, 'cause Havoc never did it right, and they always wound up sucking seeds down the neck of the pipe, which was fucking gross as hell. Roy was leaning out the pool house window, arms crossed on the ledge. He was frowning, and Breda could tell a storm was brewing right there, was waiting for whatever was churning in Roy's mind to come spilling out in a torrent of god-knew-what. Usually, he'd bitch about Riza and how she never let him ask her out and took to kicking him in the jewels most days, but when Roy finally opened his mouth, it didn't have a damn thing to do with Riza—for once.
"Guys," he said. Havoc stopped picking at the grass and looked over. "Let's hotbox my aunt's van."
"Uh," Havoc said, and went back to the weed.
"You sure that's a good idea?" Breda asked. "I mean—your aunt could probably break us with one finger."
"Well, no shit," Roy scowled. "But she's not here."
"She's not?" Havoc's head shot up. "I vote for the van, then!"
Breda looked at Havoc, looked at Roy, and shrugged. "Yeah, okay." Roy grinned and patted him on the back, like, see, I knew you were a smart guy! What an ass.
Chris Mustang's van wasn't a soccer mom van like the one Havoc's mom drove. No, it was practically an assault vehicle, with these ridiculous rims and side panels with flames and headlights like goddamn laser beams. Breda was pretty sure Roy was behind most of it, but it still made Chris Mustang the most badass mother figure any of them had ever met.
It also made Breda terrified of smoking in the van, which she had once told them was her real child and would be the beneficiary of both her last will and testament and her life insurance. Roy'd laughed, but he'd been kind of drunk at the time, so Breda wasn't sure he even remembered it.
He did, though, and the moment they closed the van doors and lit up, he was pretty sure this would be one of those things they'd regret.
Or he had thought that, right up until Roy had passed him the pipe with red eyes and a grin like the Cheshire cat. Then Breda mostly just thought life was fucking fantastic.
By the time they'd smoked the whole dime bag, all three bowls it got them, time was a non-issue, and the fact that it was getting dark outside didn't even occur to them. Havoc's head was against one of the windows and drool was pooling out his mouth and down his chin and all over his shoulder. Breda was just sort of—staring at the drool. It was shiny, kind of, and did all drool shine like that? He really wanted to know, actually. It seemed important, and he decided that maybe it was worth investigating.
"Rebecca," Roy said, "Y'know, Catalina, like," he made a curvy motion with his hands.
"No," Breda said. "She'd never, not with you."
"Like hell," Roy said, then, "why?"
"'Cause she's friends with Riza," Breda pointed out, and Roy let out a stream of curses that basically amounted to, fuck, I forgot that part.
"Okay, okay," Roy said, "how about, uh, fuck, what's her name—Olivier, the French chick."
"Armstrong's sister," Breda said. "No, no way, not so long as you wanna keep your dick. Stay far, far away from that one."
"Whatever," Roy said. "I don't even know why I'm asking you. You never get laid, so—" Whatever insult he'd been about to throw was interrupted by a terrifying sound—Chris Mustang's cell phone ring.
Havoc shot right up, looking around wildly. "The fuck is that?" he hissed, climbing into this weird half-crouched position. "Is that—"
"My aunt," Roy said, staring blankly at Breda, numb with the terror. "Oh, fuck."
"I don't see her," Breda said, looking out the window, face pressed to the glass. "Where's the pipe?"
"I—I don't know," Roy said, panicking, "I think I put it under her seat?"
"What? Why the fuck would you do that?" Breda demanded.
Then the car door opened. "I was just about to ask the same thing." Chris Mustang poked her head in the car, took one look at the three terrified boys, and lifted her nose, sniffing the air like a dog. "You three," she said abruptly, "out of the van. Out, now!"
Havoc was the first to scramble out, climbing over Roy and Breda's legs, nearly kicking them both in the faces in his haste. Roy went next, the haze clearing quickly from his eyes, and Breda after. Chris waited for them to climb out before slamming the car door, nearly catching Breda's fingers in the process. She drummed her long nails on the car, staring at the three boys like a bull seeing red, and said, "Well? I'm waiting. You got an explanation for this, don't you? Roy-boy?"
Roy swallowed—loudly. Havoc was literally shaking, though maybe that was just the high wearing off, and Breda stared at his feet. Fuck Wednesdays, he thought. He was never smoking again—assuming Chris left them alive to make that choice.
Chapter 2: Brain Stew
Title: Brain Stew
Pairing/Character(s): Roy, Breda, Havoc, Kimbley
Word Count: 690
Summary: Highschool AU – Breda thinks it's time they get a new dealer.
Warnings: Teenage boys, marijuana, language
Notes: For sonjajade, who prompted me with another fic in the same universe as Answer That (and stay fashionable!).
Roy called Kimbley right at three, the time they'd agreed on, but after the phone rang seven times, the voicemail picked up, which consisted of the Death March playing, followed by Kimbley reciting a Lao Tzu quote and then abruptly ending at the sound of the beep.
Bewildered, Roy hung up and looked at Breda. "He didn't pick up."
"Again?" Breda scoffed. "That guy's a nut, you know."
"That's putting it mildly," Roy muttered, fidgeting with his cell phone. "Maybe I'll try again."
"You're gonna look like a total crack head," Breda pointed out. "Just chill."
"You're right," Roy said. "Havoc, you call."
"I don't wanna talk to that freak!" Havoc said. "Every time I see him, I think he's gonna—man, I don't even know. Shank me or something."
"Kimbley's harmless," Roy said. Then he paused. "Mostly. Look, just do it."
"Why should I?"
"Who's paying?" Roy asked pointedly, and Havoc spat a curse and dug his phone out of his pocket. "Put it on speaker," Roy instructed.
"Sure, chief," Havoc muttered.
Again, the phone rang and rang and rang. When the voicemail picked up, though, it was different. A few seconds of some old song played, Back in the USSR, and then Kimbley again, saying something about the force being with him, but he was speaking too fast for Roy to catch it.
Havoc hung up, mouth open. "What the fuck was that?"
Roy rubbed his eyes. "He's messing with us."
"For real? Fuck, we could just go ask Marcoh—"
"He's in rehab," Breda pointed out. "Plus, he freaks me out. Old guys shouldn't hang around schools like that—"
"Yeah, point." Roy sighed. He opened his mouth, about to launch into some rant, probably, but then his phone rang. He picked it up, looked at the screen, and, surprised, said, "It's Kimbley." He put it on speaker.
"Hello," Kimbley said pleasantly.
"Hey." Roy looked pained. "What's up?"
"There's a McDonald's down the road from your house."
"Yeah?" Roy looked confused, the shit, he knows where I live? plain on his face.
"Go there," Kimbley instructed, and hung up.
"…I really hate that guy," Roy said, tossing his phone onto his bed.
"Are we going?" Havoc asked. "I dunno about this."
"Yeah, whatever," Roy said, shrugging. "We'll go."
They took Breda's car, a nondescript dark blue van. The moment they pulled into the parking lot, parked just under the sign with the golden arches, Roy's phone rang. He hadn't even managed to get it out of his pocket.
It was Kimbley. "Stay there," he instructed, and hung up before Roy could get in a word.
"I really hate that guy." Roy scowled, peering into the rearview mirror at Havoc. "You see him anywhere?"
"No?" Havoc looked around. "What's his car look like?"
"He doesn't have one. He walks everywhere."
They must have sat in the car for ten minutes before Havoc spotted Kimbley. The guy was walking out of the McDonald's, a big take-out bag clenched in his fist. He walked right up to the van and opened the back passenger door.
Havoc looked like he was about to pass out when Kimbley climbed in beside him.
"Gentleman," Kimbley said. "Care for some lunch?"
Breda just gave Kimbley a dead look, then turned to Roy, who said, "You do know why we called, right?"
"Sure," Kimbley said. "Usual?"
Roy pulled a twenty from his pocket and tossed the wadded bill to Kimbley, who, in turn, pulled a wadded up burger wrapper from his bag.
"Have a good day," he said, and opened the door and climbed out. He did it all with this slow, creepy smile on his face. Until the door shut behind Kimbley, no one in the car dared to breath.
Roy pulled a face and opened the wrapper. Two dime bags were wadded up in cellophane inside the burger wrapper. "Man," Roy said after a moment, "I really fucking hate that guy."
As Breda pulled out of the parking lot, they caught sight of Kimbley standing on the street, waving them off. "Maybe," he suggested, "we should look for a new dealer."
Chapter 3: Space Cadet Blues
Title: Space Cadet Blues (Or, Children Sell the Darndest Things!)
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 997
Character(s): Ed, Ling, Roy, Braeda, Havoc
Summary: Kimblee’s weirdness is just too much for the Tres Amigos. Goes with the Answer That! stoner series seatbeltdrivein has been writing and I’ve been illustrating. (There will be a shoop for this chapter!)
Warnings: Language, drug use/sale, a little racist (but not in a mean way, and Ling says the things himself)
Author's Notes: I have no excuse for this other than it makes me all sentimental about my youth. And I guess since SBDI started this, it must give her the same feeling XD
“Hey, Ling?” the blonde headed boy called. “You got anything to eat?”
The other boy, an Asian with long dark hair, sat bleary eyed in his father’s recliner. His head lolled to the side and his glassy gaze focused on his friend. “You know I would never get this high without food in the house.” He watched Ed get up and stumble into the kitchen, then he laughed loud and crazy. “You walk like a girl when you’re fucked up!”
“Shut up,” Ed grumbled, reaching into the fridge and pulling out random items to feast upon. There was a large Tupperware container full of chocolate pudding, some strawberries, Cool Whip, a couple pieces of left-over bacon, a couple of egg rolls Ling’s sister made… Then he reached for some chips and a large handful of Oreo cookies before returning to his perch on the Yao family’s sofa.
“Jesus, Ed,” Ling half chuckled. “Got a hollow leg?”
“Like you’re gonna eat any less,” he mumbled around a mouthful of bacon. Suddenly there came a knock at the door, and Ed’s eyes went wide. “Shit man, I bet it’s my mom!!” He looked around frantically for a minute, all while spouting out paranoid fears about his mother skinning him alive. Ling rolled his eyes and went to answer the door as his chickenshit friend hid behind the couch, munchies and all.
“Who is it!?” Ling hollered as he peered through the peephole on the duplex door.
“Uh… it’s um, Bob. I’m here about the… um, the dandelions.” The tall blonde guy had two others with him, and Ling knew his own kind when he saw them. He opened the door with a smile and ushered them in, crowing loudly about the damn dandelions taking over the backyard. When he shut the door, Ed peered out from behind the couch, saw it was just some of Ling’s ‘customers’, and slipped out of hiding place, visibly relieved that it was not his mother.
“Yes, I heard I might be hearing from you three soon. I take it Captain Kimblee’s space cadet ways sent you my direction?” Ling asked as he asked them to take a seat. Ed all but cowered in the corner of the sofa, eying the three older boys like they would gang up on him and steal his munchies away.
“Yeah, he gave us the fuckin’ willies the last time we bought from him,” Havoc agreed.
“Well, the House of Yao doesn’t have any of that nonsense,” he said as he picked up the phone and dialed. There was a pause in the conversation in the room as Ling began to speak in Chinese.
Roy leaned over a little and said to Braeda, “This kid seems like a nice guy.” Braeda nodded as Jean continued to watch Ling with intent eyes, as if he were trying to decipher what he was saying. All the while, Ed kept a suspicious eye on everyone in the room. The call ended and Ling gave his guests a wide smile.
“My father trusts my judgment, and so if you approve of our stock, I’ll be your go-to person from now on.” He pulled a 35mm film canister from his pocket and retrieved a baggie full of properly cut sweet leaf. Ling pulled out just enough that his three guests could sample the homegrown crop. Grabbing a rolling paper from the drawer beside the recliner, he rolled a tight, crisp pinner, and handed it to Havoc. “Alright ‘Bob’, light it up and take a puff and pass it to your friends,” he sang.
Havoc pulled his engraved Zippo lighter from his pocket, rolled the flint wheel and sparked the joint up. He drew the smoke in deep as he passed it to Braeda, holding it in and feeling it go to work immediately. He let it go just as Roy was being handed a pair of tweezers to toast the roach down. “Ohhhh that’s nice…” he said as he flopped back on the couch. A moment later, Jean, Braeda and Roy were all under the spell of the Yao family’s ‘Chinese Eyes’.
“Whaddya think?” Ed asked with a grin.
Roy’s mouth worked soundlessly for a moment, then finally he croaked, “Incredible.” He struggled to sit up. “What makes it so good?” he asked.
Ling smiled. “Ancient Chinese secret.”
“How much?” Braeda asked.
“How much you need, friend?” Ling asked as he rolled he and Ed a larger joint.
Ling gave him an incredulous look. “A Quarter?”
“We split it,” Havoc added. “That’s enough for all of us for a week.”
Ling nodded. “I see. For you, $55.”
“Fucking $55!!” Roy nearly yelled. “Highway fuckin’ robbery!”
“Chill out,” Braeda said as he elbowed Roy in the gut. “This stuff is much better than Kimblee’s and cheaper for the buzz you get. I say we get it and see how long it lasts us. Might take two weeks to get through it.”
“Weren’t you feeling it Roy?” Havoc asked. “We can’t pass this up. One toke and we were all ready to ride that endless wave man! We can make it last two weeks, I’m sure of it.” He turned to Ling. “How much you charge for a half quarter?” Havoc asked.
Braeda nodded as Roy calmed down. “We’ll take the half quarter to start with, then.” Ling got up, went to another room, then returned with a ziploc baggie. Braeda handed him the money and the transaction was complete. They all shook hands, and then the three of them left, ready to break in the pipe they’d just bought.
Ed laughed. “You get those three hooked on your crop and everyone at Central High will buy from you.”
“That’s the plan, Ed.” Ling flicked his Bic and took a big hit, filling his lungs with the hypnotic smoke. He passed it to Ed, then exhaled. Right away, he could feel the effects of the THC going to work. “That’s the plan.”
Chapter 4: Answer That 4- Munchie Run
Title: Answer That 4: Munchie Run
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 1,452
Character(s): Roy, Havoc, Braeda, Ed, Ling
Summary: After smoking themselves into the ozone layer, the boys make a munchie run.
Warnings: Drug use, bartering of sex for food
Author's Notes: It occurred to me that not everyone’s a pothead and may not be familiar with what a bowl is. A bowl is a unit of measurement sort of, and is measured by the size of the bowl on a pipe, hookah, or bong. Sometimes people call it an owl.
It wasn’t often that Ling and Ed smoked with other people. They were perfectly content to blaze up alone, watching some cartoons or a stupid movie on cable, and munching on whatever didn’t eat them first at the Yao house. But these three older boys, the ones Ed called the ‘Three Amigos’, were pretty okay dudes. They never brought any chicks around, were never too loud coming in or leaving, were respectful of Ling’s sister and father… So when they showed up for their bi-weekly purchase, Ling invited them to burn up a bowl or two with he and Ed on the house and they agreed.
That was around 5 o’ clock. Now it was well after sunset and if the room had been lit with something besides a single pillar candle, one would be able to see the thick smoke cloud that completely enveloped and permeated the room and the five young men in it. There was Pink Floyd spilling out of the iPod dock on the console table and Havoc was trying to tell a story but failing miserably. His tongue refused to work properly and all he managed to do was send Braeda into a chuckling fit.
Ling sat slowly up from his reclined position. “Who’s okay to drive?” he croaked.
“Fuck…” Roy groaned. “I don’t even think I could walk to the bathroom, let alone drive.”
“Someone’s gotta be able to drive,” Ling replied, moving to his feet and nearly falling.
“If you got a beer, I’ll be able to drive in about fifteen minutes,” Braeda said.
“Oh that’s good,” Ed laughed. “Give a stoned guy a drink and then let ‘im drive!”
“No, really man,” Braeda defended himself. “Something about beer kills my buzz.”
“Why do we have to go?” Havoc mumbled.
Ling stumbled to the kitchen, tugged out a can of Tsingtao beer and took it to the round red head. “I have a craving for something sweet and Ed ate the last of the ice cream cake yesterday.”
They all looked at Ed, and Roy asked, “Do you fuckin’ live here, dude?”
“What? My mom’s always busy and my pop’s gone. My brother’s too busy fuckin’ Ling’s sister to give a shit about me, so I hang out here a lot. What’s it to ya!?” He managed to light a cigarette and blew the smoke out loudly. “Besides, there was only one piece left.”
“Where did you wanna go?” Braeda asked, his head clearing with every gulp he took.
“Denny’s, of course. Is there any other place?” Ling joked.
“What time is it? If it’s close to dinner rush we’ll never get waited on.” This from Havoc who was trying to find his cell phone in the dark.
“Good point. How about that shithole diner on Eastern Ave.? There’s a girl there that wants Jean’s cock so bad she’ll probably give our order to us for free,” Roy smirked.
Ling hummed in thought. “As long as they have milkshakes or hot fudge cake or something sweet, I’m game.”
“Alright! Braeda, how’re you feeling?” asked Roy as he found his phone and used the light to locate his keys.
“I’m straight as an arrow, man. I’m ready to go when you guys are.” They all stood up and suddenly he started laughing. “Wait, we came in Roy’s Corolla, how are we going to fit everyone in there?”
“Ed can sit in my lap,” Ling teased.
The short boy bellowed, “I’ll ride in the damn trunk before that happens!”
The three amigos looked at each other and grinned wickedly. “We can arrange that!”
Ten minutes later, the three of them wrangled Ed into the trunk and they departed for Father’s Famous Food.
Thankfully it wasn’t a long ride, because despite Braeda being a clear headed driver, the road was in terrible shape, and with every pothole, divot and bump he hit, Ed cried out from the back. They pulled in to the parking lot, let Ed out, and then staggered in ready to throw down on some premium junk food. The place was nearly deserted, and when the buxom raven haired beauty with the bright red lips and perfect ass saw Jean was with them, she all but walked away from the table she was currently waiting on to come drool over him.
“You guys sit wherever you like!” she called, and they did just that, sprawling out in a booth meant for eight people. As soon as she stuck her current ticket in the window, she practically skipped to where the five stoned boys sat. “Hi Jean,” she cooed, holding her check pad in such a way that her arms pushed her tits up nice and pretty. “I’m surprised to see you in here.”
Havoc looked up with his bloodshot eyes and smiled at her. “Here’s the deal. You give us our food for real cheap and I fuck you into next week.” Her hazel eyes went wide. “You get it for us for free and I’ll take you to the prom and fuck you into next week.”
“Seriously?” she breathed.
“But that doesn’t mean I love you or anything else. It’s bartering one thing for another, got it?”
Her face lit up in a big smile. “Of course! I mean, maybe you’ll change your mind once we… y’know…”
“Do you have a dessert menu?” Ling asked, completely not caring about interrupting the pretty girl’s thoughts.
“I need a Pepsi as big as you, Lust!” Roy pleaded comically, his hands coming together in a prayer of desperation.
“My name is Solaris, you bastard!” she shot back. “And I’ll bring you the menus on one condition.”
“What’s that?” Havoc asked, fiddling with his lighter.
“You can keep the prom date, but you go with me in the bathroom and fulfill your offer right now, and I’ll give you your bill for free.”
Havoc pocketed his lighter and shoved Ed out of the booth. “I’ll be back, guys. Duty calls.”
Once they were out of earshot, Braeda said, “I give him five minutes.”
“Shit, I give him two before she storms out.” Roy opened a sugar packet and dumped it in his mouth. “She could have at least gave us some drinks before she went off.”
Thirty six minutes later, a very happy Solaris emerged from the ladies room, followed by a very happy looking Jean Havoc. The girl went to the counter and spoke with the cook, who glared at the table full of boys, and reluctantly nodded to whatever she said. Then she returned to their table with tall soft drinks and a big plate full of chili cheese fries.
“You guys can snack on these until your order’s ready. So what can I get you all?”
Ling smiled at her and said, “I’ll have what you gave him.”
“Not on your life, little boy.”
“Then I’ll have a piece of that coconut crème pie I saw in the glass,” he replied cheerfully as he reached for a Pepsi.
Solaris finished taking everyone’s order then went back to the kitchen. Braeda asked, “So how was she?”
“Girl’s got a fucking gift with her tongue, man. Tight as hell, moves like a well oiled machine. But her head’s all fucked up. If she was right in the head, I’d almost marry her.” He dug into his caramel sundae and said around the sugary goodness, “This feast is not a fair exchange by any means.”
“Well, they don’t call her Lust for nothing,” Roy laughed.
“Why do they call her Lust?” Ling asked, simply because he refused to be left out of the conversation, unlike Ed who was happy to keep his mouth shut and watch the room.
“Back about a year ago, she got caught running a porn site under the name Lust Ouroboros when she wasn’t eighteen. So she did a six month stint in juvie and now she works here,” Braeda answered. “She’s been hangin' off Jean’s nut sack for years, and now she finally got her deepest wish I guess.”
“You all doing okay?” she called from the window to the kitchen. Jean gave her the okay sign and she smiled sweetly at him.
After running up a tab of $134.54, the boys thanked Solaris for her cooperation and she told Jean she’d repeat the favor if he repeated her request, and he kissed her before they left, leaving her cheeks pinked as he agreed to her terms.
“You guys are good for me,” Ling said. “I have learned so much just from this single evening.”
Roy put his arm around his new friend and said, “Ling, I have the feeling this is just the beginning of a very long and beautiful friendship”
Chapter 5: Villanelle
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 912
Character(s): Havoc, Braeda, Roy; Maria Ross as a teacher
Summary: Havoc needs some herbal inspiration for his homework assignment.
Warnings: Drug use
Author's Notes: Part of the Stoner Series AU but can stand alone. Title is the style of poetry Havoc uses for his homework. It has a strict rhyming scheme of aba, aba, aba, aba, aba, abaa. The first and third line appear every other stanza as the third line, and then together at the last stanza. Complicated to explain, but you’ll see it in action at the end. Unbeta’d- she’s busy with Big Bang. Dedicated to the MIA seatbeltdrivein whom I miss terribly.
The final bell rang at Central High School and Ms. Ross called out above the shuffle of books and chairs and fleet footed teenagers anxious to begin their weekend, “Don’t forget! Your workbooks on classical poetry are due Monday morning! No extensions!”
Jean rolled his eyes, dying for a cigarette and ready to get out of the stuffy classroom. Then he had an idea. “What does the poem have to be about?” he asked, watching the teacher’s tight ass shake from side to side as she erased the whiteboard at the front of the room.
“Anything at all so long as it follows one of the typical poetry structures we studied in the text book.”
“So I could write a haiku about a cheeseburger?” he grinned as he shouldered his backpack.
“While I would hope your poem would be something of greater importance than a cheeseburger, that would be acceptable, yes.” She turned and just caught his gaze snapping up from her butt to her eyes and fought the urge to laugh. “And make it longer than one stanza. Try to shoot for three at least.”
“Okay. Have a good weekend, Ms. Ross,” he waved as he hurried to meet Braeda and Roy and light up.
While Jean’s social life was rocking pretty hard that weekend (super hot date Friday that ended in a fantastic blowjob and nearly getting his face beat in by the girl’s father; a pool party that turned into a drinking contest on Saturday; Sunday afternoon with his folks at his grandmother’s and the best damn fried chicken and corn on the cob he’d ever eaten in his entire life), by Sunday evening he still hadn’t written that haiku about the cheeseburger, or a sonnet, or even a nursery rhyme. He called his best friends and met at Roy’s aunt’s house, in the back where his ‘bachelor pad’ was housed in the pool house.
“If I don’t do the stupid poem, I’ll fail and my dad’ll ship me off to the army,” he said as Braeda sat cutting the bud and pulling the seeds out of that night’s smoke. “I really don’t wanna wind up in the fucking army. And even a bad grade is better than no grade at all.”
“This should help inspire you,” Braeda commented as he tossed a seed aside. “Hundreds of famous authors needed a chemical muse.”
Roy gave him a doubting smirk. “Like who?”
“Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemmingway, Louisa May Alcott…” When he saw no recognition in their eyes at the names he’d given, he added, “Even Stephen King needed a little help sometimes.”
“Really?” Jean piped up. “And that guy’s a genius! If he needed a little weed to get him through than it won’t hurt to see if it’ll work for me too.”
“Oh no, he went straight for the cocaine. If he’d smoked weed, his shit would be boring.” He pulled a rolling paper out and filled it up, then rolled and twisted it down into a proper joint. “But for you, boring is the same as passing, so spark this and get that notebook and pen.”
Jean sat down on Roy’s lumpy couch and fired up, Braeda giving him a pep talk as the smoke crept into his mind. “Write about something you know, something you love is usually best. It’s okay to ramble in poetry, just ramble… prettily. Flowery shit you might say to a girl or something.”
“Okay,” Jean said, staring down at the pad of paper. He burned through half the joint before inspiration hit and then he was quick to pass it off and get to work. It took him ten minutes to get it down, and then he excitedly went home without hardly a word to the others.
Maria Ross got to Jean Havoc’s composition book and sighed. She was honestly expecting three haiku stanzas on cheeseburgers and French fries, but was pleasantly surprised to find something altogether different.
I know her and she knows me.
We’ve danced for a long time now.
She is all I’ll ever need.
We first met when I was wild and free.
She took me by surprise and I wondered how…
I know her and she knows me.
Sometimes her trace is all I see,
Hanging in the air near my brow.
She is all I’ll ever need.
Sometimes we sit under my friend’s old tree
And she snakes around the gnarled up bough…
I know her and she knows me
People tell me I should flee
Put her down… run away NOW.
But she is all I’ll ever need.
To them I wish to make this decree:
We’ll never part, this I vow.
I know her and she knows me.
She is all I’ll ever need.
She put her red pen down and reread it, finally deciphering the ‘she’. She smiled to herself, remembering the first time she used a little herbal help with her own studies. God, grad school would have been hell without it.
And to a seventeen year old boy who’s top priorities were getting laid, eating, and binge drinking (and in that order), high school was probably hell, too. Picking up her pen, she smiled as she wrote, “Great example of Villanelle poetry, Jean! You truly surprised me, and I love your poem. You’ve got great talent when you set your mind to things. A+”
“Enjoy your high, Jean,” she said as she marked it in her grade book.
Chapter 6: The Last Summer Vacation
Title: The Last Summer Vacation
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 496
Character(s): Roy, Havoc, Braeda
Summary: The boys are thinking about how scary the future is and trying to make a plan. It seems no one likes anyone’s ideas, except the idea to pass around the glass pipe with the magic herb in it.
Warnings: Drug use, underage drinking, general teenage boy stuff.
Author's Notes: Part of seatbeltdrivein’s ‘Answer That!’ universe. I swear one day I’m going to put all of them in a collection so everyone can read all of them in one place.
The Last Summer Vacation. Well, not the very last, if you counted the ones from college. In the fall, they’d be seniors and ‘Grown Up’. Old enough to vote, to smoke, to be arrested for having sex with over half the girls they desired… They’d end up with crappy jobs, maybe even one that would turn into a career… They’d get studio apartments so they could afford a car and insurance…
To Roy, Havoc and Braeda, this was depressing as fuck.
“What scares me most about it all, is the bills,” Jean said as he cracked open a beer pilfered from Roy’s Aunt’s fridge. “Let’s say you get a job making minimum wage. By the time they get done taxing the shit out of your check, you end up with like two thirds of what you worked for.”
Braeda looked up from cutting that night’s bowl and said, “That’s why you go to college, dumbass. No one survives on minimum wage anymore, not without at least a roommate. But there are options if you don’t wanna go to college. If you work as a garbage man for example-”
“Fuck that!” the young blond crowed. “Ain’t no chick gonna go out with a dude that’s a garbage man!”
“They make $25 an hour just to start and have great benefits!” Braeda countered as he packed an ornate looking glass pipe. “You’d clear about $700 a week after taxes! That’s $2,000 more a month than minimum wage! And they have showers at the hub so you don’t stink!”
Roy gave everyone a shit eating grin. “You suckers go and get your jobs. I’ll never have to pay back my loans, and I’ll find myself a sugar mama to take care of everything else.” He took the pipe Braeda passed and sucked the smoke deep into his chest.
“What the fuck are you talkin’ about?” Braeda sputtered, trying to get the most out of his hit.
“If you stay enrolled in school,” Roy choked out. “You don’t have to-” he exhaled and began again. “You don’t have to pay the loans back until you’re out of school. If you can prove you’re still a full time student, you don’t pay your loans back. I’ll get a degree in everything and find a woman to take care of the rest!”
Havoc shook his head, saying, “And I thought Braeda was a nerd.”
“I’m not a nerd, I’m just intelligent,” Braeda retorted, taking a second turn at the pipe.
“Then explain being captain of the chess team.”
Braeda flipped Havoc a middle finger. “At least I’ll be in the yearbook more than once. And chicks will know me from seeing this handsome face all over its pages,” he smiled as he gestured to his head.
Roy and Havoc looked at each other and burst out laughing. “You got a better shot at getting laid by my aunt!” Roy cried.
When he seemed to consider the possibility, they laughed all the harder.
Chapter 7: Splish Splash
Title: Splish Splash
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 213
Character(s): Roy, Havoc, Braeda, Ling, Ed
Summary: After getting higher than a giraffe’s ear balls, Roy decides to go for a dip in his aunt’s pool.
Warnings: Teen age boys smoking pot, skinny dipping, general stoner mischief.
Author's Notes: Part of the Stoner Series. Also, you might want to reference the song Joy to the World by Three Dog Night. So here's a LINK to it for easy times.
It was a hot summer night at Casa de Mustang, and Roy had invited his best friends and his new ‘contact’ and his protégé for a fellowship smoking circle. Nearly a quarter pound of pot later, they lounged at Roy’s bachelor pad, higher than moon in the darkening sky.
Braeda pulled his t-shirt off, slowly, as if he’d been switched into slow motion. “So hot,” he grumbled.
“Pool,” Ling gestured limply. He couldn’t seem to manage even a full sentence.
“Too stoned to swim,” Braeda snorted. “I’ll drown.”
Roy struggled to sit up, then got to his feet and stumbled to a storage closet. He awkwardly tossed a giant tube float into Braeda’s lap. Then he shucked out of his clothes, all of them, ran naked across the pool deck, and cannonballed right into the cold water.
“He must really be stoned to do that,” Ed grumbled.
Havoc laughed, “No, he’s just really stupid!”
From Roy’s pool house apartment, the rest of them could hear him singing softly and off key, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog! Duhnt-duh-duh, was a good frien’ of mine!”
He raised his head at the roars of laughter that floated to him on the night air. “Well, he was!” he called out. He couldn’t understand why they laughed even harder.
Chapter 8: Are You Serious?
Title: Are You Serious!?
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 474
Character(s): Roy, Havoc, Braeda, Chris Mustang
Summary: August was miserable, but Braeda wasn’t.
Warnings: Drug use, age play
Author's Notes: Part of the Stoner Series! I had to stop and take laugh breaks, hope you guys enjoy reading it as much I enjoyed writing it.
There was only one word to describe August: miserable.
It was hot, humid, and too close to the start of the school year. The cackling of the locusts was annoying and boredom was getting the better of the Tres Amigos. Their stash of ‘Chinese Eyes’ helped some, but in heat like this, the cottonmouth almost wasn’t worth it. That made August even more miserable, if it were even possible.
Braeda claimed he could cure dry mouth with a shot of mouthwash, so he didn’t let the cottonmouth stop him from getting high as the sky. Unfortunately for him, when the other two were straight and he was not, he couldn’t hope that Roy might forget some of his amorous musings about his friend’s middle aged aunt.
“I would bury my face in those tits and never come out,” he croaked as he lounged by the pool, much too green and cloudy to swim in since the filter broke.
“Dude!” Roy shrieked, his face twisted up in anger and disgust.
Braeda turned his head toward him. “C’mon Roy, she’s so freakin’ cool. And I know she’s on the heavy side, but so am I. She’s just… god, I would wreck her. Just break her in half.”
Havoc couldn’t help but laugh as Roy stood up, arms flailing in a panic and growling in an effort to keep from hearing his words. “Are you serious!? That’s fucking sick! And she’s an old, ugly woman! I don’t know how she gets dates as it is!”
Braeda sat up, a look of determination in his bloodshot eyes. “I’m eighteen now, I’m gonna ask her out.” Then he turned to look at Roy and said seriously, “And don’t you dare ever call her ugly again, got it?” He went into the house to find the woman in question, the storm door clattering shut after him.
“What the fuck just happened?” Roy asked Havoc desperately.
Jean laughed. “I think Braeda’s gonna try to fuck your aunt, man!”
“Jesus fucking Christ, that idiot!” he said as he flopped down on in a deck chair and cradled his face in his hands.
All the sudden the sound of Aunt Chris’ laughter burst from the house. The back door opened and Braeda seemed to slink back to his chair, looking utterly defeated and refusing to answer any questions.
“At least she’s got some damn sense,” Roy breathed, relieved.
“Braeda-boy!” Chris called from the kitchen window. “Let’s leave around six so we beat the dinner rush!”
“Alright!” he called back.
“Oh shit…” Havoc gaped as Braeda looked at Roy over his shoulder, smirking. Roy looked ready to scream.
“Well, I guess I better go home and shower and stuff.” He grinned wide as he bummed a cigarette from Havoc. “Don’t wait up, Roy-boy!” He walked away singing “Fat Bottomed Girls”, completely ignoring Roy’s raging.
Chapter 9: One For the Road
Title: One for the Road
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 1,420
Rating: T for drug use
Character(s): Ed, Roy, Ling, Braeda, Havoc
Summary: Ed’s failed his driver’s test five times! Ling’s determined to help him out…
Warnings: Teenage boys, driving under the influence, drug use.
Author's Notes: Part of the Stoner Series. Thank you bay115 for the beta!
Prompt: Test (Wasn’t submitted for voting because I couldn’t get the word count to cooperate… and I was late to turn it in lol)
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One muggy evening, Ling invited his best customers over to try an experimental new crop of bud. They showed up with a hookah, some soft drinks and snacks as thanks for the free blaze.
Ling let Braeda cut the sticky blooms down into something they could smoke, and then watched as he carefully packed the bronze bowl. The hookah only had four hoses, so Havoc and Braeda shared one while everyone smoked themselves to the highest heights. A little while later, they lay about the smoky room enjoying their collective buzz.
“Hey,” Ling croaked, his eyes closed and his head flopped back in his father’s recliner. “I had another reason for asking you guys over.”
“I hope it doesn’t involve moving,” Roy murmured.
“Well, not until later. I was wondering if you might be able to help my friend here,” he said as he pointed to Ed. Ed’s eyes went wide as he sat up, not knowing what Ling was about to ask.
“See, he’s failed his driver’s test every time he’s ever taken it.”
“Lame, dude!” Havoc laughed. “Gas is on the right, brake’s on the left, keep it between the lines and there ya go!”
“Hey, I can drive just fine alright?” Ed snapped. “I might go a little too fast around corners, but I’ve never hit anything!”
“How many times have you taken it?” Braeda asked, sitting up and reaching for his Dr. Pepper.
Ed crossed his arms. “Five,” he grumbled.
“After five attempts, don’t you think you would’ve learned to slow down a little?” Braeda shook his head slowly. “Maybe you ain’t meant to be driving.”
“I was wondering if maybe you guys would have some insight on passing it,” Ling continued. “I’ve done all I can and he doesn’t have any friends apart from the girl who lives next door to him, and she doesn’t have the patience or the time to work with him.”
“I don’t mind teaching him.” This from Havoc who looked like he crawled out from under a rock. “I taught this girl I used to date and she was the worst person ever to get behind a wheel. He can’t be as bad as you’re making it sound.”
“When we get straight, you can take him out and you’ll see just how bad he is,” Ling chuckled. “In the meantime, where’re those Oreos?”
A few hours later, the five of them piled into Braeda’s van and took off for an abandoned movie theater. The parking lot was huge and there were none of those annoying concrete bumper things to hinder driving around. It was a popular place to practice driving during the day, and somewhat of a deserted asphalt plain by night, with the occasional litter tumbleweed rolling past under the lot lights.
With Braeda’s permission, Havoc kicked everyone out of the van. “I can work my magic better if it’s just me and my student,” Havoc explained, and Roy, Ling and Braeda sat down on one of the decorative planters gone to weeds and watched from a distance.
“If you wreck my van, I’m gonna take it out on your ass!” Braeda shouted as Ed started the engine.
“Y-yeah, I got it,” Ed replied as he adjusted the seat and mirrors.
They watched as the van rolled away, uneventfully. Ed braked normally, even signaled every turn he made, parallel parked like he was born to do it, and otherwise didn’t shock anyone. So when he rolled up beside the others, Ling asked him what was different.
“What the hell? Every time you and I go out to practice, you’re flying at a breakneck pace and practically drifting around corners!”
Ed scowled and snapped, “He wasn’t pretending to be a god damned state trooper!”
“You’re nervous about the trooper?” Havoc grinned. “He’s just a dude, doing his job like the rest of us. He’s nothing to be scared of!”
“Whatever, I get the same guy every time because of my last name. Sgt. Parker gets whoever’s last name begins with E through H. And he doesn’t like guys with ‘long punk hair’. He said so, a bunch of times.” He slumped down in the seat. “I’m not a bad driver, I just can’t pass the test.”
Havoc gave the boy a cigarette and said, “Nah, you just haven’t figured him out yet. I’m sure we can get ya through this, no sweat.” He then told him of a simple plan that was guaranteed to work, and the five of them decided to celebrate early at Denny’s.
Sgt. Parker was a large man with a small mustache and an even smaller tolerance for punk ass teenagers. He’d failed twelve of seventeen people taking their course test and was thinking he was going to have to fail another when Ed walked in.
“Mr. Elric, you’re a determined little punk, aren’t you?” he frowned.
The young man smiled. “I guess I’m hardheaded.”
Parker looked the boy over- his hair was cut short and he wore a plain black ball cap, as well as a polo shirt and jeans that looked new and not raggedy. Maybe he was changing his ways after all…
“Indeed,” he grunted. “Well, you know the way. Let’s see if you’ve gotten any better at this.”
They went to where the boy’s mother’s car sat and climbed in. Parker observed how Elric buckled up right away this time, not after the car was rolling, and could operate all of the lights and auxiliary controls perfectly. Then he gently dropped the vehicle into drive and coasted to the stop sign, not speeding away at all, as in the past.
The boy didn’t tailgate once, didn’t slam on the brakes ever, signaled every turn and parallel parked better than he could himself. The only thing he did wrong was one rolling stop, the last stop sign of the course. But that only took off five points, not enough to fail him by any means. When they returned to the license bureau, Parker passed the brat and handed him the paper to have his license made.
“Congratulations, kid. You’ll never have to see me again, I hope.”
“Thanks, I’ll not be seeing ya!” he said with a wave. As he walked back in the building, he took the hat off and his hair tumbled down past his shoulders. Parker’s mouth fell open and he watched as Elric whipped the polo shirt off to reveal a Metallica concert t-shirt underneath, complete with some scattered bleach splatters and a hole as big as a quarter.
He’d been fooled. And damn, he was fooled good, too.
A grin reluctantly formed on his face. “Damn brat.”
Later that night, after his mother and brother had shown their happiness at having made one of his biggest achievements, Ed met Ling and the Three Amigos at Denny’s to show off his brand new driver’s license.
“Told ya,” Havoc grinned as he passed the little card to Braeda. “You eat a couple of magic brownies and you get the effects without the red eyes and the smell. I bet that trooper had no idea you were high as a kite.”
“I never felt that relaxed around that man, ever,” Ed admitted with a smirk. “Good thing they can’t piss test you for that shit on the side of the road!”
“No fair, your picture looks better than mine!” Roy bemoaned as the license made its way back to Ed. “I looked so fucked up in mine, and I was straight when they took it. But you’re stoned to the gills and look fine!”
“Hey man, I was practically raised on the herb! Maybe you can’t hold your smoke as well as I can!” he replied, digging into a plate of cheese fries.
Ling rolled his eyes. “Whatever, your brother told my sister that you’ve only been smoking for like two years.”
Their bickering escalated as the older boys laughed at both of them, and under the glaring incandescent lights of a suburban Denny’s, acquaintances somehow bonded into true friends.
Chapter 10: Eyes on the Prize
Title: Eyes on the Prize
Author: Sonja Jade
Character(s): Havoc, Braeda, Alex Armstrong
Summary: First period gym class sucks, until it sucks even worse
Warnings: Cannabis use, general teenager warning, language
Author's Notes: Part of the Stoner Series! A HS AU wherein Havoc, Braeda and Roy are three friends who like to get sky high at every opportunity. The three amigos are seniors, grade twelve, last year of high school (whatever works for your country’s education system). Thanks for the quick beta bay115! (AND YAY FOR BREAKING WRITER'S BLOCK! EVEN STARTED WORKING ON BIG BANG AGAIN WOOOHOOOO!!!!)
Jean was dying for a cigarette as he sat on the ground next to his friend Braeda, stretching his legs out. “Too fuckin’ early to be runnin',” he grumbled as he watched the phys ed teacher send one of his classmates back to the locker room for wearing flip flops instead of sneakers.
“Miss Catalina, this is the third time this week!” Mr. Armstrong bellowed behind her. “Perhaps a day or two of detention will help you remember!” He didn’t wait for her to return before getting the class up on their feet and started on some calisthenics to get their bodies ready to run the Morning Mile. At last, they’d done their regimen and he asked enthusiastically if they were ready for their run.
They all groaned a negative, Braeda going on to curse him in Italian- something he’d picked up from his grandma. Jean wished he could bounce a nice fat rock off of his shiny bald head, right at that diamond shaped spot that was glaring in the sunlight. Hopefully he’d knock him out with it so they could all take a nap back in the gym where it was warm and forget about the Morning Mile.
“You should be glad you’re able to run a mile! With your youth and stamina, you should be able to run two miles! Why, my father ran ten miles in the snow every morning when he was at Fort Briggs, and even as up in years as he is, he still runs three everyday!” He whipped his track jacket off and revealed a rippling chest and abs, massive arms and a muscular back. “This is what the pinnacle of physical fitness looks like! And I didn’t get this way sitting on my bottom, playing video games, or doing dope! It’s hard work and discipline- all lessons passed down the Armstrong family line for generations! You’ll thank me one day for being so strict!” He put the jacket back on, much to Jean’s relief, and then shouted, “NOW GET MOVING!” He clapped loud enough to pass for a gun going off, and about thirty-seven teenagers took off around the track.
Jean and Braeda held their own in the middle of the pack. They were both used to being in training for sports, but cardio came later in the day, like after school- not first period. Braeda panted his displeasure as they rounded the second turn in the first lap.
“Wish I was high right now,” he commented breathlessly.
“Why?” Jean gasped.
“Could pretend… to be chasing… after munchies!” he grinned.
That got a chuckle from Jean. “Let’s try it tomorrow!” he suggested. Braeda nodded, unable to vocalize his agreement.
The next morning, Jean, Braeda and Roy sat in the back of Braeda’s beat up Chevy Astro van, Visine in hand, as they passed around a roach griped tightly in a medical clamp. Once they were finished, Roy went happily on to Spanish while Braeda and Jean ambled toward the gym.
Mr. Armstrong didn’t seem so annoying today as he had all week, and the calisthenics didn’t seem so unpleasant as in days past. And then there was the run itself. Jean couldn’t speak for Braeda, but he felt like he was racing along, almost floating past the others. He was at the front of the line, wind in his hair and the sun warm on his face… It was almost like flying. And then everything went black.
When he came to, Mr. Armstrong was cradling him like a baby and his first instinct was to move away from the man.
“Hold still, Mr. Havoc! You’ve broken your nose and you’ve just awoken from blacking out!”
Oh, that would explain the throbbing sensation in his face. And the blood. Blood that felt like the runniest nose he’d ever had. But he wasn’t in any pain- guess he knew what he could thank for that.
“What happened out there?” Braeda asked frantically.
He tried to remember… Then he saw it in his memory. He’d intended to jump over a stick on the blacktop that had blown in from last night’s storm, and instead he’d stepped on it and smashed his face on the ground.
“We’ve called your mother and an ambulance is on the way,” Mr. Armstrong explained as they went back into the building. “Try to stay calm and don’t move around too much, alright?”
“I’m really sorry you have to carry me, Mr. Armstrong,” Jean said dazedly. Words like concussion and drug test and blood clot floated around randomly as his teacher carried him to the front of the building.
“Nonsense! Because of my fitness level, it’s like carrying a rag doll! It’s no trouble!”
He hummed in thought. “Maybe I should try a little harder to be more active,” he rambled.
Armstrong winked and murmured, “It always impresses the ladies when you can carry them around with little effort.”
When Jean was cleared to go back to physical activity, he never complained about first period gym class ever again, and even threw himself into a stricter workout routine. Once he shared that little whispered bit of wisdom with Braeda, he didn’t have to do it by himself.
Chapter 11: Stand By Your (Young) Man
Title: Stand By Your (Young) Man
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 997
Character(s): Chris, Roy, Havoc, Gen. Edison, Maj. Miles
Summary: It’s never a dull moment with Roy around. Chris can’t help but wonder if some of this is her own damn fault…
Warnings: General teenage boy mischief, (brief) mention of sex and drugs
Author's Notes: Part of the Stoner Series
Prompt: You lie and I’ll swear to it
Chris was restocking the bar when her cell phone rang. She looked down and a puzzled look crossed her face. Why would Roy be calling her during school hours? She decided she better find out.
His voice was low and frantic. “Aunt Chris, I’m in trouble… I think.”
She sighed. “What’d you do?”
It was a long drawn out tale, something about a senior prank. She zoned out on the details but picked up the story again when his voice got nervous.
“Somehow, I lost my lighter that night.” Oh. The Zippo with his (and his grandfather’s) name on it. Shit…
“They have video of it being left behind. They already think it was me, but no one’s actually confronted me yet. I’m gonna get expelled-”
“Shh,” she cut him off. “Listen, you need an alibi? I’ll back ya up.” She reached for a glass and poured herself a shot of scotch, even though it was only 11:42 am. “Whatever you tell ‘em, make sure it makes sense and that it’s something I can back you up on. Keep me updated.”
“Yes, ma’am. I might get one of the guys to call.”
“That’s fine. Good luck.”
Around 12:30, she got a text from Havoc. She pulled the phone from her bra and read it.
‘Cops are here. Roy’s with the principal, expect a call soon. He’s telling them that he gave Kimblee the lighter as collateral until he got his gas money for taking him home from waffle house about a week ago.’
Well that made sense enough. And back when he was seeing a lot of that weirdo, he probably did owe him gas money at some point. “Good job Roy, but what about the alibi?” she muttered to herself. Then a second text came, from Havoc again.
‘Sheska said she’d swear she was on a date with him and that he brought her home after to get laid. Riza would’ve done it but she’s not 18 yet. All you have to do is say he was at home with you around 1130 on Thursday night.”
Chris smiled at the phone and texted back, ‘You got it.’ Not ten minutes after that, she was on the phone with a very upset gentleman who acted as if he were going to talk her to death. “Look Mr. Edison, my nephew was out on a date with a pretty redhead that night. By 10:30, he was home having sex with her- I know because I had to bang on the wall to get her to quiet down! If you’re trying to pin an entire high school full of marbles on my kid, I’ll take you to court!”
The man hollered back at her, “Why would he take a girl out on a date when he could buy his lighter back?”
She laughed. “You must’ve never been a teenage boy, Mr. Edison. Think about it- get your lighter back, or be with a cute redhead for the whole night?”
He got flustered. “Ms. Mustang, just because you run a nudey bar doesn’t mean everyone is as depraved as you are!”
“Is that defamation of character I just heard? Let me talk to one of those fine men in uniform and ask ‘em!” The line went quiet apart from Edison raging in the background. Then another voice spoke.
“Ms. Mustang, this is Officer Miles, how are you?”
Chris knew that friendly voice anywhere. “I’ve been better, honey. I’m gonna string that boy up if he doesn’t straighten out. Tempted to let you haul him in anyway.”
She knew he couldn’t be friendly with her over the phone in front of Edison, but he dropped hints every now and then that everything would be alright. “Please do us a favor and make sure your nephew understands that his belongings, even if they aren’t on him at the time, can incriminate him. We’ve got the lighter in hand, should we give it back to him?”
She lit a cigarette and chuckled. “Yes, and do keep an eye on that Kimblee freak. Saw him the other day out by me, and you know it’s the meth dealers out by the club.”
He seemed to take the information with a degree of surprise. “Interesting. Do you want to press charges for defamation of character? There’s a room full of witnesses…”
She huffed. “I should, but not today. That old man’s got a heart attack with his name on it just waiting on the perfect time.” She hung up at last, going into her office and waiting for Roy’s call. When it rang she lit into him.
“I want you on the straight and narrow, boy. You’re an adult now, and I can’t be covering your ass all the time.” Chris had another glass of scotch on her desk and a bottle of antacids. “You’re gonna get right or you can get out. I’m too old to be playing these games with you.”
“Yes ma’am,” he said in a quiet, defeated voice.
She shook her head and sighed. “After school, you come home and clean your apartment up. I want it spic and span. Get your cohorts to help ya. Then we’re gonna sit down and have a talk, just you and me. Okay?”
“I love you, boy. I just want better for you than this.”
“I know. Love you, too. I’m sorry.”
She looked at the pictures scattered across her desk, of a little boy who had grown up too quickly. She rubbed at her temples after chewing some Rolaids. “Was it my fault?” she asked, looking at a faded photo of Roy with his mother and father, before the accident killed them both. “I did my best. I haven’t given up on him yet, but damn he’s trying my nerves.”
The doorbell rang in the back, signaling a customer up front. She downed the rest of the scotch and brushed the ashes off her blouse. Time to go to work.
Chapter 12: A Rite of Passage
Title: A Rite of Passage
Author: Sonja Jade
Series: Brotherhood AU
Word Count: 3,336
Character(s): Roy, Havoc, Braeda, Madame Christmas, Vanessa, Madeline, Martell, Dolcetto, Roa, Greed 1.0, Mason
Summary: It’s Braeda’s 18th birthday, and Roy takes him to his aunt’s topless bar to celebrate.
Warnings: It’s a nudey bar- any kind of warnings you think should accompany that apply. No sex though. Close to it, but no.
Author's Notes: These damn stoner boys… I wanted to work on my big bang, but nooo-oooo, we gotta have our strip club story! And then Madame and her pestering- too many muses trying to get their stories out at once! Thanks to bay115 for putting up with the insanity in my head and fingers.
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The Cha-Cha Club, like most strip clubs, was not in the best of neighborhoods. It was on the other side of downtown, thankfully near an expressway on-ramp so that getting home was safer than getting there. Vagrants, prostitutes, drug pushers, and other undesirables hung out all along the strip and it was nothing to see several police cruisers stopped at some corner or another, lights flashing and sometimes guns drawn.
But it was where Aunt Chris made her fortune. And going to her place on one’s eighteenth birthday was a rite of passage for Central’s young men (and some young women).
Roy drove them. The security guard at the fenced in lot knew his car and wouldn’t give them a hassle about IDs. Besides, apparently ‘Madame Christmas’ had told them to expect her Roy-Boy, because it was Braeda’s eighteenth birthday at last. As he expected, there were hookers in thick fur coats and spiked stiletto heels walking the streets, freezing as they bared enough skin to entice their next customer. Roy turned into the parking lot and waved at a burly old man with impressive gray pork chop style sideburns. They parked near Aunt Chris’ car and got out.
“Hey, Roy!” the man called, walking over. “Heard about your little run in at school- you stayin’ out of trouble?”
Roy grinned. “Yeah, walking the line, just like she wants. How’ve you been, Roa? I haven’t seen you since that accident with the mechanical bull.”
The man laughed loud and hearty. “I’m fine! I’m all healed up and here I am! Standing guard of her Ladyship’s empire!” He rubbed his hands together, cursing the cold. Then he leveled his gaze at Braeda. “I’ve seen your tall friend but not this one. You must be the birthday boy, am I right?”
Braeda nodded, stuffing his hands into his hoodie pocket. “Yes, sir.”
“What’s your name, kid? You look like someone I know…” He narrowed his eyes and seemed to scrutinize his face.
“Heymans Braeda,” he answered, sticking his hand out as an afterthought for a handshake as Roy and Havoc had a quick cigarette before walking inside.
“Heymans… What a strange name. But what’s even stranger is that’s what’s ringing a bell about who you remind me of.” Roa scratched his chin. “Heyman, Heyman…”
Braeda chuckled. “Probably my old man you’re thinking of. His name is Jakob Heyman. Left my mom and I before I was born, so that’s why she gave me a weird name.” Roa was nodding as Braeda went on to tell him his mother said he looked a lot like his father.
Roa shrugged. “Well, for what it’s worth the guy’s a dick. You’re much better behaved than him and I can say that after only knowing you two minutes. Your dad’s a nasty drunk, and likes to smack the girls around, so we have a permanent restraining order on his ass.”
“Fuck, it’s fucking freezing out here!” Havoc griped tossing his half lit cigarette out onto the asphalt. “Let’s go in already!”
Roa nodded. “I’m headed back to my little guard tent,” he gestured to a small hunter’s blind with the camouflage on the clear plastic windows rolled down so he could see out to the lot’s entrance. “Got a nice little stove heater in there!” He waved them off and Braeda followed his friends inside.
The sound of pop music blaring from the other side of two heavy wood doors assaulted his ears- as well as the smell of strong perfume, disinfectant and sweat. It kind of reminded him of the bowling alley on Saturday nights…
“Yo, Roy!” The man sitting at the door said, getting off his stool and giving him a fist bump. He wore a white ‘Karate Kid’ style headband and a printed red shirt with some kind of masked samurai motif. Roy and Havoc walked just past him to hang up their coats and he turned to Braeda.
“Alright, Birthday Boy! Let’s see that ID!”
Braeda dug his wallet out and handed him his license. While the guy went to get pink wristbands for the three of them (to indicate they could not buy alcohol), Roy introduced the bouncer as a guy named Mason.
“Any special shows going on tonight?” Havoc asked as he counted out thirty singles, handing ten to Braeda.
“No,” Mason said with a sigh. “Last week we had Lolita Belize- man she’s good! Sweetheart, too. Shame she’s in this business.”
“Who’s Lolita Belize?” Braeda asked as he put his wallet away.
“Dude, she was a semi-finalist in the International Pole Dancing Competition! And then she did a burlesque show with some snakes!”
Havoc groaned. “Man, I would have loved to have seen that!"
Yeah, ya missed a good show. Vanessa’s on tonight, but you know Greed’s already got her attention in there.”
Roy huffed and rolled his eyes. “Fuck Greed.”
Braeda was utterly confused. “Who’s Greed?”
Havoc frowned and crossed his arms. “He’s a regular, super rich, got more money than he knows what to do with. He practically gives it away in twenties when he comes in. You can’t miss him when we go in, he’ll be wearing a real expensive suit and have all the prettiest girls around him.”
Mason nodded in agreement. “Already had to warn him once about getting touchy-feely with Madeline. Told him if he wanted to do that he could come out here and buy himself one of these street walkers.” He grinned at them. “Instead of telling your buddy here all about it, why don’t you just take him inside already?” Roy and Havoc smiled wickedly as they agreed with him and led the way into the club.
Music burst from the doors and the scent of cotton candy body spray punctuated the bowling alley smell. Neon lights ran all over the place- along the main stage, around the two smaller stages that looked like nothing more than mirrored tables, around the bar top… Potted palm trees, exotic flowers, and an art deco theme made him think of Miami Beach. Aunt Chris was out on the floor chatting with a blonde tattooed woman who was running the DJ booth, laughing about something, and then he saw the one they called Greed.
They weren’t kidding- no less than six women surrounded him. He wore a black suit with a red shirt and tiny sunglasses. The girls were all over him, and he randomly handed out fifty dollar bills to them all.
And all the boobs. He’d seen pornos and dirty magazines, but he’d never in his life seen so many bare breasts. Some bounced, some swung a little, some didn’t move at all. And the nipples were twice as varied.
“Like it so far?” Havoc shouted over the music, some kind of dance song he’d heard on the juke box at school.
“Yeah,” he yelled back. “When’s the first show start?”
“We got about five more minutes,” Roy answered. “Get a good seat, I’ll get us some drinks.”
Braeda and Havoc wandered to sit at the stools around the stage and when Roy returned, he was carrying three clear solo cups filled with Coke. “Aunt Chris said she’s got a surprise for you later, so we have to stay until after midnight.”
He furrowed his brow. “But we got school tomorrow, I don’t want you guys to have to struggle to stay awake in class because of me.”
Roy waved his comment off. “She said she’ll get us out of school, don’t worry.”
A blonde girl with a curvy ass and decent sized boobs pranced over to them- and Braeda felt his eyes widen as she bent over and thrust her chest into his face. “Hi, Roy! Who’s your handsome friend?”
“This is Braeda! It’s his birthday today!”
He forced his eyes up to her face and away from her perfect tits. “Hi,” he said lamely.
“Hi honey,” she purred. “I’m Vanessa. I’m getting ready to do some dancing up here. You brought plenty of money, right?”
“Uh… yeah! Yes, I brought money!” Damn, he sounded like such a loser.
“Good!” Then she whispered in his ear, “’Cause you’re gonna give it all to me, right?”
He swallowed as Havoc and Roy laughed at him. “Y-yeah! Of course!” She giggled and then blew him a kiss as she walked away, her g-string mostly swallowed up by the crack of her pretty ass.
Roy cackled. “You’re such a dork!”
Braeda felt his face heat with embarrassment. “Shut up.”
Roy handed him ten one dollar bills like Havoc had done. “Don’t spend it all on one girl, and make it a $5 limit or else they’ll hound you all night for more.” Then he heard Aunt Chris’ voice over the PA.
“Welcome everyone to the Cha-Cha Club, Central’s most infamous topless bar! We’ve got longnecks two-for-one, drafts half price, all kinds of drink specials back here at the bar, so don’t hesitate to come ask Dolcetto for somethin’ to wet your whistle!” She waved at them from the DJ booth, saying, “If you’ll direct your attention to our main stage, we have a very special guest with us tonight! Please welcome Heymans Braeda to the club tonight- it’s his eighteenth birthday so let’s give him a big hand!” Applause and cheers filled the room. “C’mon, Braeda-Boy, stand up and let all my girls get a good look at ya!”
He wanted to crawl under a rock. Unfortunately, Roy and Havoc felt he needed to be on top of a rock rather than under it. They forced him to stand and he waved at the people in the room. He was going to punch both of his friends so hard in the gut when this night was over.
“Tonight, we’ve got all your favorites on deck! So without any further ado, let’s welcome the ravishing Vanessa, who’s going to take us back to the days of the pharaohs with her act, Egyptian Erotica!”
The lights went dim apart from a spotlight, and desert themed music filled the room as the girl who’d introduced herself only a few minutes ago appeared. She was dressed in a skimpy costume, mostly of white sheer fabric and gold satin shoes that curled upward at the toes. Braeda watched in awe as she moved, beckoned closer to the edge of the stage by her alluring dancing.
When she was finished he only had seven dollars left and his friends were shaking their heads and laughing. Thank goodness he’d brought all his birthday money with him and had more on hand, because the next girl who performed was just as shameless in getting what she wanted from him.
The show went on for hours, and Braeda was sure if he stood up or moved or even sneezed, it would trigger a life threatening explosion in his shorts. Havoc said it was time for a smoke, and Braeda carefully got to his feet to join him. Outside, the freezing temperatures did his body good, and when he returned, he decided a trip to the bar was in order for another Coke.
Aunt Chris was back there and she shooed the beefy bartender out of the way. She poured a double shot of whiskey in the cup before adding the Coke and winked at him. “Happy Birthday, kiddo.”
He couldn’t help but forgive her for the embarrassing shout out earlier. “Thanks. I heard you got a surprise for me later, was this it?”
She shook her head while smirking. “Nope. You’ll just have to wait and see.” She winked at him again and he felt his heart plummet into his stomach and create a swirl of butterflies there. “Not much longer and it’ll be ready. I’ll come get ya when it’s time.”
“Don’t pull me up on stage,” he said seriously. “I’ll probably puke.”
“Scout’s honor, you’ll never touch the stage.”
Assured of his safety, he went back to his seat and wondered what his surprise could be as they watched Madeline So-Fine do a strip tease set to Bruno Mars’ “Gorilla”. Havoc looked ready to pounce on the nearest thing and fuck it into the floorboards, and Roy couldn’t seem to stop playing with his phone. Braeda decided that while the highball he was drinking was pretty damn tasty, he wasn’t sure he really cared for the club overall. He was nearly out of money and so worked up with no one to go out with later and resolve the problem in his pants. Nope, this was probably going to be a first and last trip.
The time seemed to drag by, and then he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around to find Aunt Chris grinning at him. He grinned back at her and rose to his feet. When his pals acted as if to follow, she said, “You’re not invited.” Braeda smirked at their confused expressions and then waved goodbye as she took his hand and led him away from them.
They walked past the bar to a back hallway that was all but pitch black. There were two tiny lights in the ceiling, just enough to light the way between a row of small rooms. She tugged him into one of them and sat him in a comfy chair that had no arms.
He was nervous. This room had barely any light, a heavy curtain for a door, a mirror in front of him and he knew there was no sex at the club, so what was going to happen?
She reached into a pocket and gave him a quarter ounce of prime bud, the expensive stuff- Blue God. Unless she called in a favor on it, it was easily $300 worth of weed.
“Aunt Chris, you didn’t-”
She cut him off. “Shh. If I couldn’t have, I wouldn’t have. Besides, I wanted to. You’re the brains between the three of you and you deserve a little something special.” She seemed to be thinking, taking a breath to start a sentence and then not saying anything. Finally she took a deep breath.
“I’ll give you a choice, Braeda. I’ll get Vanessa to come in here and give you a free lap dance…” She looked at the floor, as if she wasn’t sure about her own words. “That, or I’ll give you a three minute kiss.”
Braeda was flabbergasted. “Would you really?”
She gave him a gentle smile. “Yeah.”
It was the easiest decision he’d made in a long time. “I want you. I don’t even care if she was to come in here and suck my dick, I’d still want you.”
She sighed through her nose, shaking her head at him. “I’ll never understand why, but if that’s what you want, Braeda-Boy…” She slipped her fur trimmed coat from her shoulders and hung it from a hook he didn't previously see, and then she hiked her dress up a little and straddled his lap.
He swallowed. She was heavy, but nothing he couldn’t handle. He couldn’t seem to find his voice, so he cleared his throat and said awkwardly, “Is it alright if I put my hands on your arms?” He knew you weren’t supposed to touch the girls in lap dance rooms, so he wanted to be sure he’d have a place to put his hands.
She took his hands and put them on her thighs and he was sure she could feel him growing underneath her. She ran her fingers through his red hair and leaned down. He closed his eyes and she took his face in her hands…
Her lips touched his gently. He remembered when they’d briefly kissed the night of the brownie debacle, and remembering that it was nothing like this. He felt like his entire body was shaking in time with his thudding heartbeat. He pressed his lips a little harder against hers, one of his hands sliding from her thigh over her hip and coming to rest at the small of her back. He felt her breath hitch and he wanted to rip that dress off of her, put her on all fours in the floor, and drive them both nuts.
But he didn’t. Instead, his other hand came up and cradled her cheek. She pulled back from him just a little, long enough to tell him Happy Birthday again, and then she was kissing him harder than before, and their mouths opened for one another in a unanimous decision.
As they made caresses in each other’s mouths, she began to rock her body against him. The hand on her back pushed her firmly down as he titled his hips to press into her. She took a sharp breath and began to move a smidge faster, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him more desperately. She ground down hard against him and he groaned into her mouth. Both of his hands were on her hips now, and it seemed like his body had gone into autopilot as he enjoyed the fantasy of her reciprocating his feelings toward her. For the moment, she was very eager and willing to dry hump him in one of the back rooms of her club and Braeda couldn’t be happier.
Slowly, she stopped moving and pulled back from him, releasing his lips with a smooch. They were both panting and he didn’t know what to say. Somehow, he got the feeling she didn’t either.
“You’re a good kisser,” she whispered.
“You too.” His fingers touched her jaw line as he said in a low voice, “We should finish this some time.”
“Maybe,’ she said as she laid her head on his shoulder.
His arms came around her and he closed his eyes as he hugged her. “This has been a great night. Thank you so much for everything.” He squeezed her as he left wet kisses on her neck.
“D-don’t, Braeda,” she warned. “Too much.”
Right after that she was getting off of him and getting her coat. “It’s late, you guys should go home.” Her face was as red as could be, and he allowed himself a smirk. He’d messed with her and flipped some switch inside. He only hoped he didn’t make things weird between them.
“Don’t tell Roy what happened in here. Havoc either. This is our secret.” She gave him a lingering look, as if she wanted to say more.
“We can’t leave it like this,” he said quietly. “It’s like leaving a movie right in the middle.”
She turned and walked back toward him, then bent down and kissed him again, less desperately as she had a moment ago. “Give it three days. If you’re still interested, we’ll go back to the beginning and start slowly.” She patted his cheek before she turned and left him before anything else could be said.
He walked dazedly back to where his friends were watching another dancer perform when he was stopped by the man in the black suit. His sharp teeth glinted in the dim lighting and Braeda wasn’t sure if he should run or come closer.
“I’ve been comin’ here a long time kid, and I’ve never seen the boss lady worked up like that.” He gave him a knowing grin. “Whatever you got, ain’t nobody else got.”
He nodded in acknowledgement and quickly moved on, nagging Roy and Havoc to get going.
In the car, all he could think about was her. The feel of her mouth on his, of her body pressing into his so desperately, the way she smelled, the way she tasted… All he wanted to do was jerk off and go to sleep.
Three days. He could give her three days if it meant she would give him a chance. And if he ever got to finish what they’d started, he could die happy. He smiled to himself as he kept avoiding his friends’ questions about his lap dance. No, while he might share some of his Blue God with them, the memories of Aunt Chris would be his alone.
Chapter 13: I'll Be Stoned for Christmas
Title: I’ll be Stoned for Christmas
Author: Sonja Jade
Warnings: Drug use, implied lolicon (but both characters are under 18)
Prompt: seta_szume’s stocking stuffer fic! (I remembered you said you liked the Stoner Series once, and I really tried to do something first with Dr. Marcoh but couldn’t make it work, so this happened instead. Hope that’s alright!)
Summary: Al pulls a really awful prank on Ed, but Karma gets her digs in almost immediately afterward.
Disclaimer: I DO NOT NOW, NOR HAVE I EVER, NOR DO I EVER PLAN TO, OWN FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST. ALL HAIL OUR BOVINE GODDESS OF MANGA!
Notes: Part of the “Stoner Series”
Edward Elric’s number one fear in life was having his mother catch him smoking pot, or being high, or hanging out with other people who were doing one or both of those things. And while Alphonse Elric would never tattle on his brother, he couldn’t deny that it would be nothing short of a Christmas miracle if he happened to be present when (and there would definitely be a when, Ed wasn’t always very careful when he was stoned, despite his paranoia…) his mother dropped the proverbial hammer on his head upon the discovery of his favorite hobby.
Apparently, their estranged father didn’t care either way when he ran into Ed one night when he’d gone with Ling to make a delivery. Van Hohenheim had told him that he’d been a hippie himself as a teenager, but that he grew out of it eventually. He expected Ed to do the same and warned him to never steal from anyone in order to get the money to cover his habit. Ed flipped him a middle finger and stomped off in the opposite direction.
But if their mom ever caught him, she’d likely jerk that ponytail right out of the back of his head by its roots and beat him to death with it. She’d be so livid that her eyes might really go red and smoke might actually pour from her ears.
And Al wanted to see that more than anything in the world.
He’d told his girlfriend, Mei, about it one night, as they lay in her bed playing Lego Harry Potter on her Playstation. “Mom’s always griping at him for his grades, always hounding him about his attitude and how he dresses, the friends he keeps… But if she ever found out he was smoking up, she’d blow her top so hard,” Al commented. “Nothing would stop her from putting the fear of God into him.”
Mei scrunched her nose up. “Your mom is the nicest lady I know. I can’t even imagine her cussing him out, let alone physically punishing him.” She gave him a sideways glance. “Besides, if she whipped him for getting high, what would she do to you when she finds out you’re not as chaste and pure as you claim to be on Sundays when you’re at church?”
He nudged her with his elbow. “You complaining?”
“Never,” she said with a grin, nudging him in return. “But what do you think she’d do to you?”
Al thought a moment. “I dunno, probably lecture me about STDs and ground me for a week.”
She paused the game and turned to look at him. “What? How come you’d get off so easy?”
“Uh, because I get good grades and stay out of trouble, I don’t dress like a roadie for Metallica, and I have a legit job?” He reached over and pushed the start button on her controller. “Ed would get her wrath because that would be like the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
From the other room, he heard Ed call out across the house, “Hey, Pedobear! Put your pants on, we gotta go home and get ready to go to Granny’s!”
Al sighed through his nose and handed Mei his controller. “Dear Santa,” he mused aloud, “please let Mom catch Ed high as a damn kite, that wayshe’ll kill him instead of me.” He kissed her briefly on the mouth, then jammed his feet into his sneakers, yelling at Ed that he had his pants on already, that maybe he should set the bong down for a minute and his brain might actually function. Then Mei’s father shouted something in Chinese and silence reigned throughout the apartment once more.
“Hey,” Mei said sitting up. “You want your mom to catch him high? I’ll rig him up a one hitter that’ll fuck him up for a week. Give it to him on Christmas morning- he won’t be able to resist it, and he’ll think it’s just going to take the edge off of the day, but he’ll get so high it’ll take a dozen elephants tied down with anvils to bring him back down.”
He leaned down and captured her lips, his hand holding her face as he kissed her. “And people wonder what it is that I see in you.” He said he’d pick her up from karate the next day and they could go out to eat after that if she wanted. Al grabbed his coat and went out to the living room, hissing at Ed for his rudeness, then they left together to have an early Christmas dinner with their close family friends, the Rockbells.
Even though getting through dinner in a goddamned sweater was rough, it had been worth it, in Ed’s book. Winry was pretty and snarky as ever, and that just stirred the cockles of his heart even more. Like she was even in his league- she wasn’t even in his region. He wouldn’t ever have a shot with her in million centuries- but he didn’t have to be with her in order to enjoy her presence on earth. It was the only reason he went to the damn dinner in the first place.
Now it was Christmas Eve. Al was out with his little girl somewhere, probably playing some kind of video game with her or watching one of the umpteen Avenger movies that were out. But there was no two ways around it- he was out with a girl and Ed was home alone with their mother… and Dad had come home to stay the night since it was Christmas and all.
He would’ve been out with Ling and Havoc and the gang, but he opened the garage door and Al’s cat got loose. Poor thing was still missing, and Ed was grounded until the cat was returned. Being grounded meant Ed was straight as an arrow. That in itself wasn’t a problem, but he’d been straight as an arrow for three days. He was dying for a smoke- a joint, a cigarette, hell even Granny’s pipe over at Winry’s house- anything at this point.
So when Al came in from his date and gave him a tightly rolled one shot, he nearly fainted.
“Since when do you give me weed?” Ed asked tightly holding the twisted paper in his hand.
“Since it’s Christmas and I know you’re suffering,” Al answered with a grin. “I’ll watch the door, you open up the window.”
Ed couldn’t believe his luck. A one hit of Chinese Eyes and the best little brother in the world to stand door duty. “Man, Al! You’re the best! I owe you one!”
He pulled up the blind and opened the window, raising the screen and all so he could stick his head out the window completely. He lit up and drew the smoke in deeply in one breath.
”EDWARD FRANCIS ELRIC!”
In the back yard stood his parents, his father holding Al’s missing cat and his mother-
“Mom…” he mumbled, his mouth feeling suddenly numb and tingly, and his voice raspy from the smoke…
And wait a second… This wasn’t Ling’s Chinese Eyes. This was Father Yao’s crop, King Kush with the hash oil sprinkled in. Ling once called it Devil Weed. Now Ed knew why.
His mother must’ve screamed the whole way into the house, all the way upstairs. Ed’s fogged brain was panicking, but in that strange out-of-body calm way that some people experience.
She nearly squashed Al with the door as hard as she opened it. His piece of shit father, to his credit, did restrain her from physically assaulting him her shoe, but he couldn’t stop the barrage of tears and shouted insults she hurled at him. He kept telling her ‘It’s a phase, he’ll grow out of it, Trisha!’, but she just wouldn’t stop crying.
Hohenheim finally wrenched her out of the room when she called Edward the devil and said he’d ruined Christmas for the rest of their lives. Ed wanted to crawl under his bed like a toddler and hide.
And Al was laughing. He was laughing so hard that tears streamed down his face and his voice had gone hoarse… Or maybe he was sobbing, it was hard to tell.
The door opened again, this time revealing Hohenheim and not his supremely pissed off mother. He grabbed Al by the collar of his shirt- which thankfully shut him up, whatever he was doing- and spoke to them quietly.
“I want to know right now, and tell me the truth, what just happened.”
Ed, his filter gone, murmured, “Got high. Then Mom screamed a lot and Al started laughing.” He chuckled awkwardly and touched his cheek, hot where his mom landed a good hard slap before Hohenheim got her under control.
“Where do you keep your stash?” Hohenheim asked carefully.
“Don’t got one,” Ed replied.
He gave him a strange look. “Then how’d you get high?”
Ed pointed at Al. “He brought me some.”
Al’s hands went up defensively. “Hey, I ran into Ed’s friend, he hadn’t seen him in a few days and he asked me to give it to him! Don’t shoot the messenger!”
Hohenheim eyed both his sons for a moment. “Look, I’m no angel myself, alright. But you know how much the holidays mean to your mother. You have to be little angels for her sake.”
“But I always go away when I get high,” Ed protested. “I don’t want her to see that, so I go away.”
Hohenheim’s eyes narrowed, looking at Al now. “Alphonse… Did you do this on purpose so Ed would get in trouble?”
“Probably!” Ed started, slowly sitting up straight. “He don’t like when I tease him, so he wanted to get me back!”
His father ignored him. “Are you hiding something too, Al?”
“What about Mei?” Ed drawled. “She’s only fifteen and a half, Al.”
The look his brother gave him made his lips curl into a grin. Oh yeah. If his secret was out, then Al’s would be, too. “He’s been fuckin’ her for six months.”
From the other side of the door, his mother wailed, “ALPHONSE CONRAD ELRIC, YOU ARE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE!!”
A few weeks later, Braeda and Havoc watched from the student parking lot as Ed and his tall little brother walked over to a Toyota Corolla and got in, both of them scowling and saying nothing to the chestnut haired woman driving.
“Damn. Grounded for a whole year,” Havoc bemoaned. “I can’t even imagine…”
“Yeah,” Braeda agreed, lighting a cigarette. “I heard Ed’s looking at military boarding school if he fails his algebra class. He’s a junior that’s still in algebra 1. Heard his old man moved back in to make sure he follows through on it, too.”
Ling wandered over with his little sister in tow, smiling as he approached. “Hey guys. Feel like dropping by later? I’m working on my crop and have something new to try if you’d be interested.”
Havoc nodded. “Hell yeah, I’ll sample that!” He looked in the direction the Elrics had driven off in. “Sucks about Ed. Al, too,” he commented to Mei.
Ling burst out laughing. “Ed’s fine!”
Braeda raised his eyebrow. “He didn’t look fine to me just now.”
Ling clapped the red head on the shoulder. “Trust me. Their dad drops them both off for an hour or so just about every day while he goes down to the Y and does his workout! Ed’ll probably be there when you come over!”
Mei shook her head. “I like their mom, she’s very nice- but she expects too much of them, I think.”
“Perfection is impossible,” Braeda nodded sagely. “At what point do you say ‘This is just who my son is’, and accept it?”
Ling brushed them all off. “So are you guys coming over later? I need to know how much bud to cut.”
When they met up, Roy suggested they thank Hohenheim for his courageousness against Ms. Elric and being a hero to the teenage population. They all chipped in on a bottle of Stray Dog as thanks, but when they presented it to the man, he surprised them all-
“I can only accept this on one condition. Let me smoke with you, just once.”
While Al didn’t partake of the herb Ling passed around, the rest of them did, and by the end of the third pass around, Ed said he loved his dad, quite possibly for the first time ever. It was decided that Hohenheim was an official member of the Stoners Club and was hereby entitled to all rights and privileges associated with the title.
“I wonder how mom would react to that,” Al mused aloud.
“I don’t ever want to find out,” Hohenheim answered. “And if you rat me out to her, I’ll tell her it was all your idea, Al.”
Oh, no. Al had already learned that lesson once. He didn’t need to be told a second time.
What happens at the Yao house, stays at the Yao house.
Chapter 14: Lover's Leap
Title: Lover’s Leap
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 764
Characters: Ed, Ling, Lan Fan (making her Stoner Series debut)
Summary: Ling has no idea who she is, but he’s going to do his damnedest to find out.
Warnings: Stoned teenage boys, peddling things that make one stoned.
Author’s Notes: Part of the Stoner Series
Being on school grounds after school was already out was kinda lame, but some of Ling’s customers refused to meet him anywhere else, and at least it was quiet. Most of the suburb neighbors thought nothing of kids being at school instead of on the streets causing mischief, so when he and Ed went down to the baseball dug out to meet one of Ling’s clients, no one even batted an eye.
The exchange was easy- an empty Altoids tin with money inside for an empty Coke bottle painted black on the inside to hide the baggie with a dime bag of Chinese Eyes inside. After a bit of friendly conversation (and a panicked glance at a watch to make it believable), they parted ways and Ling and Ed began the walk back up the hill to the parking lot.
And then Ling saw something that caught his eye. The school itself loomed huge and staggered at the top of the hill, and there was a person up there, jumping and leaping from ledge to ledge before climbing back up again.
“You see that?” Ed asked, lighting a cigarette.
Ling could only watch as the ninja dressed person did a running flip off the top of the ‘Principal’s Roost’ onto the second floor roof, rolled to their feet and then walked on their hands along the edge before doing some kind of triple twist thing to the first floor roof.
“Is that dude fucking nuts?” Ling breathed. Whoever it was did a series of backflips before dropping to the grass and sprinting over to them.
Ed grinned. “That’s some crazy shit you were doing! I was sure you’d fall!”
The mystery person came over to them and pulled the ski mask from their head, and Ling thought he was going to faint.
It was a girl. An Asian girl. And goddamn, was she beautiful. “Hey, don’t tell on me, okay? I just need a place to practice where no one will stare or distract me.”
Ling’s tongue was dry as the Sahara desert, and he wanted to ask her name, where she was from, could he get her number, did she want to spend an hour or so getting to know him better in his back seat- but what came out was, “I’ll protect you.”
He felt his face heat immediately and caught Ed giving him a weird look out of the corner of his eye. The girl grinned at him, then said, “I may need to protect you! From the smell of your clothes, you’ve got a bad habit, and the thing by the baseball field wasn’t a much better one.”
“Uh…” Ed interjected, “so what exactly are you doing up there? Training for that Ninja Warrior thing?”
“Parkour. I just started doing it about three months ago. I did a bunch of martial arts before this though. This is just more fun.” She pulled her mask back down. “My name is Lan Fan. Remember- don’t tell on me!”
She sprinted back to the school, racing up a wall to grab a ledge and then gracefully climbing back up the building in a series of flips and jumps that made Ling’s stomach turn.
“I’ll protect you?” Ed laughed. “Lame!”
Ling turned to him. “And what did you say to Winry once?” His friend’s face reddened and Ling pressed him to repeat what it was he said to her the first time she mentioned liking him.
Grumbling, Ed said, “Your flower dress is really flowery.”
“Now we’re even!” They went back to his car and Ling drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “I wonder where she goes to school.”
As Ed rattled off some different ways to find out, Ling simply got back out of the car and called out to her. Lan Fan peeked over the edge and he shouted, “Can I see you some time?”
And she was off again, leaping around once more.
Ling sulked back to the driver’s seat as Ed laughed his guts out about how funny it was that he got shot down and all. He wasn’t laughing though when Ling dropped him off at his house instead of taking him back to the Yao family’s apartment.
“I got work to do,” was his only explanation, and then it was Ed’s turn to sulk.
Ling drove back to the school, but Lan Fan was already gone, no sign of the black clad girl with the beautiful eyes and amazing abilities. Ling sighed to himself. There was only one thing to do.
Comb Facebook for her profile.
Chapter 15: High as a Kite
Title: High as a Kite
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 503
Rating: T for drug use
Characters: Ed, Ling, Roy, Havoc, Braeda
Summary: The afternoon before school starts, the High Five decide to prepare for the new school year by commandeering a merry-go-round and passing around a couple of blunts and giving Ling an English lesson… then singing the Austin Powers theme song.
Warnings: Smokables and some underage smoking.
Author’s Notes: Stoner Series!
Prompt: August monthly prompt- Turn an idiom into a prompt
One of the greatest inventions ever created was the merry-go-round, Ed thought in his fogged mind. Of course, this thought was only after he’d smoked himself into the atmosphere with his friends and after he’d been riding on the damn thing for over twenty minutes. He was getting nudged from his left- Ling was passing him a blunt that was almost burned down now. Ed carefully took it and took another deep draw off the thing before nudging Havoc who sat on his right. And that merry-go-round just kept twirling slowly on, and Ed’s thoughts wandered off once more.
“Hey,” Braeda drawled. “We’re pretty fucking high right now, aren’t we?”
Ed chuckled. “High as a giraffe’s ass.”
“High as a giraffe’s… ear ball things,” Roy gestured with his hands.
“High as a kite! That’s even higher than that!” Havoc reached for his half-drunk Big Red. “Got to be with school starting tomorrow.”
“Gentlemen,” Ling interrupted, “we are sky high. And a little ozone always makes ones studies a bit more bearable.”
“Confucius say, ‘He who gets high will never feel low’,” Ed commented in a faked Chinese accent.
“Don’t be racist, Ed,” Havoc said as he smacked him upside the back of his head. “I wonder if Confucius really said that…”
Braeda chuckled slowly. “Are you kidding? He probably didn’t say half the shit that’s credited to him, at least not the puns and the idioms!”
Ed watched Ling drum his fingers on his knees, something he did when he was searching his Chinese word banks for an equivalent phrase. Finally he spoke up. “What’s an idiom?”
Braeda slid off the merry-go-round and stumbled over to a nearby tree. “It’s a turn of phrase, a saying that means something totally different than its literal meaning.” He unzipped and started peeing on the tree and continued, “Like the saying ‘I gotta piss like a racehorse’. It means you have to pee really bad, not literally pee while running around a track. ‘Kick the bucket’ is another one, we say that when someone dies, but it doesn’t mean they literally kick a bucket before death.”
Ling seemed to understand. “So when we say we’re ‘sky high’, we mean we’re really fucked up, not really walking around in the clouds and soaring with the birds.”
Braeda followed the merry-go-round until his previous spot came back to him, and he hopped back on. “Right. That’s an idiom, too. So is ‘higher than a cat’s back’, ‘higher than the noonday sun’, and even the classic ‘high as a kite’.”
Ed grinned as he laid back to look up at the sky. “I’m surrounded by frickin’ idioms!”
Roy and Havoc laughed loudly at that, Braeda going on to make a comment about sentence structures with ‘frickin’ laser beams attached to their frickin’ heads’ and they laughed harder, leaving poor Ling to wonder what was so funny now. When the laughter dissolved into everyone singing the Austin Powers theme song, Ed decided this was probably his favorite high moment ever.
Chapter 16: Smoking or Non?
Title: Smoking or Non?
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 853
Characters: Roy, Braeda, Havoc
Summary: Sometimes munchies hit really hard… And three young men should’ve considered having their food delivered instead.
Warnings: Recreational drug usage, teenage boys.
Author’s Notes: Unbeta-ed, Part of the Stoner Series. The place I mention here, DiOrio's, is a real pizza joint here wher eI live, but it's more of a bar than a restaurant. However, they make a 30" pizza and we've gotten that twice.
Braeda didn’t usually smoke as much as Roy and Havoc did. But today had been an exception: he’d gotten accepted to Dublith College on a scholastic scholarship. It was a free ride to a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications, and he and his mother had cried tears of joy in their kitchen.
So he was celebrating, and when he and his two best friends celebrated, they did it big. Roy broke out the hookah at his pool house apartment and they’d helped themselves to four bowls or Mary Jane, all in the name of thanking the gods and the saints and those beyond the grave for Braeda’s brains and good fortune.
About an hour after they’d floated off into the ozone, Havoc weakly raised his head.
Braeda agreed. “Me, too.”
“What’s to eat?” Havoc asked, his head rolling toward their host.
Roy started chuckling silently through his nose, his chest bouncing with the motion of it. “Crumbs. Gotta go out if we want food.”
Braeda groaned. “Fuck.”
“Who’s drivin’?” Havoc whispered, as if it were some horrible question he shouldn’t have asked.
“Can’t even walk,” Roy answered.
Silence reigned for ten minutes or so after that, their fogged brains slowly coming to a solution. Braeda got up and opened the door. “If you’re hungry, let’s go.”
Roy and Havoc didn’t ask any questions, simply did as they’d been told, piling into Braeda’s van and very carefully making their way to someplace to eat.
It was dinner time, and every place was busy, from Taco bell to Texas Roadhouse. They finally settled on a pizza place that didn’t look as jammed as Wendy’s or McDonald’s and went in.
The hostess was a beautiful blonde girl, maybe sixteen years old, and a gorgeous smile. Cheerfully, she greeted them, “Welcome to DiOrio’s, how many?”
Havoc grinned. “Four bowls, how about you?”
Braeda sheepishly grinned, saying, “Three, please.”
“Smoking or non?” Her smile was starting to look forced.
“Definitely smoking- just like you, honey,” Havoc winked, handing her a business card, from a stack of business cards he had printed to make it easier to give his number out to girls.
She threw it right in the trash beside her podium and grabbed three menus and three rolled up sets of silverware. “This way.”
As soon as she turned her back, Braeda smacked him upside the back of his head. “What’re you doing, you idiot? Can’t take you anywhere!”
“Shut up, it’s just a little fun!” he said a little too loudly, drawing everyone’s attention. Once he noticed all those eyes on him, he broke out into dance, singing a song from the Looney Tunes cartoons. “Hello my baby! Hello my honey! Hello my ragtime gaaaaal!” He was even miming taking a top hat off and on as he went, and Braeda nearly kicked him.
At last they reached their booth and Braeda shoved Havoc into one side. Roy didn’t seem to be paying much attention to anything other than the menu, thank goodness.
“Salad sounds good,” he murmured as his bloodshot eyes scanned over the listings. “Ooh, how about a calzone?”
“How about a pizza? An extra-large with the works, minus the olives?” Braeda asked, his buzz nearly gone now and his nerves being dry humped by Havoc’s lunacy. He was now trying to stick a spoon to his nose while using the napkin dispenser on the table as a mirror.
“Okay, but only if we get breadsticks, too.”
Braeda could live with that. “Sounds good.”
“And extra cheese,” Havoc chimed in, cursing under his breath as the spoon slipped off his face. “Ooh, and that garlic butter sauce!”
“Dude!” Roy exclaimed. “They’ve got Italian ices and cannolis! We definitely gotta get dessert!”
“Hope you got enough money to take care of all that,” Braeda commented as he looked around for a server. “By the way, how are we splitting this tab?”
Havoc looked up with an expression as if he’d just discovered the meaning of life. Louder than he intended, Braeda was sure, he said, “We’re at a pizza place! There’s no shortage of dough here!” Then he cackled wildly, garnering a few strange looks from people sitting near them. And that’s when Braeda decided to lighten up a whole lot. It was a celebration, after all. He didn’t need to spend his dinner with his friends worrying about the people around them. Besides, what was the point of getting high if you had to act straight?
He took a deep breath, and all became right with the world. “Havoc, what did the pizza say when it went to Disneyworld?”
Havoc was still laughing from his own pizza pun and grinning. “I dunno!”
“This is dough much fun!”
Havoc screeched with laughter, which caused Braeda and Roy to give into laughing too. Now it was starting to feel a little more like a party. They ordered, made more pizza jokes, and finally ate until they were ready to pop.
And when they paid, the manager gave them a delivery menu and asked them not to come back.
Yep, it was some party.
Chapter 17: Straddle the Line
Title: Straddle the Line
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 381
Summary: Kimblee is playing a different game since Ling moved in on his turf. The rules are the same, he’s just playing on hard mode now.
Warnings: Mentions of producing and dealing drugs by a shady high school kid.
Author’s Notes: I never submitted this for the contest I wrote it for, I assume because at the time I felt it needed more substance, but after rereading it, I think it’s fine where it is. Also this takes place after Chapter 11, 'Stand By Your (Young) Man' where Aunt Chris tells Maj. Miles about Kimblee dealing meth out by her club.
Prompt: Concrete jungle
The only person who knew the streets of Central as good as (or better) than the police was Zolf Kimblee. Good neighborhoods, bad neighborhoods, the dangerous slum area near the coal refinery- he knew every cut-through, alleyway and shortcut. After that Chinese kid edged him out of his territory with his stronger strain of weed, he’d sold off the last of his plants and started cooking meth in his senile grandmother’s barn out in the country. Because he was smarter than most, he never tasted his own cooking and made a killing out by the strip clubs, where the hookers were hooked and would give all they had plus a handjob for more of the stuff. After he’d made more than a thousand dollars in a week, he was grateful to Ling for taking over most of his clients.
But apparently his large bankroll had caught someone’s attention, because he’d been tailed by police cruisers for two nights in a row. So far they hadn’t followed him too seriously, but tonight Zolf felt like they were just a little too close, too observant. His regulars seemed to sense that too and they could only glance at each other from across the dark street, hoping they didn’t draw too much attention to themselves.
After about an hour, Kimblee decided it wasn’t worth it tonight. He walked off, hands in his hoodie and trying to discretely get rid of what he had in his pockets in case he was stopped. He went down a maze of alleys that the police had no trouble navigating. Frustrated that they seemed to be hunting him down on purpose, he rounded a corner and dumped a fistful of meth in the shadows before they could see him do it. He then decided getting out onto a main road would be better.
Despite his best efforts, he was stopped by them at last, but by then he’d dumped all of his little presents. He kept his largest bills under the innersoles of his worn out Converse sneakers, so when they checked his wallet, there was no evidence that he was a dealer. They let him go, gave him a warning about the citywide curfew, and he was free to go. He hopped on the next bus and disappeared.
Chapter 18: Break A Leg
Title: Break A Leg
Author/Artist: Sonja Jade
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist (H.S. AU)
Characters/Pairings: Braeda, his mother, Havoc, mentions of Alex and Catherine Armstrong and others.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters within this story based on the series by Hiramu Arakawa.
Summary/Teaser: Stage fright’s a bitch- even for seasoned veterans. But it's all worth it in the end just to see her smile.
Rating: T (language, drug use)
Word Count: 1,833
Author's Notes: Part of the Stoner Series
“You take too fucking long,” Braeda hissed as Havoc hurried to pack the new glass pipe Roy had bought for them as a Christmas gift.
“Well, you're too jittery to do it right!” Havoc retorted. At last, the bowl was full and ready to smoke. “Here- now calm down!”
Braeda flicked his Bic lighter and sucked a big lungful of pot smoke into his chest and held it a moment, refusing to pass as Havoc bitched about him bogarting the pipe. He exhaled with a growl, then lit up again before finally giving it back to Havoc.
He leaned back in the driver's seat of his van, drinking from a water bottle and taking some deep breaths. “One more and I'll be alright.”
“You better be, asshole,” Havoc replied, his words choked on the smoke he was desperately trying to hold inside him. He blew smoke rings until his lungs were clear, then he commented, “You've been in choir since like, forever. Dunno why you're so nervous this time.”
“Never had a solo before. What if I forget the words? What if I'm flat?” He took the pipe from Havoc and gave it another draw. “What if I embarrass myself in front of everyone?”
“Nah, you're thinkin' about it the wrong way,” his friend protested. “What if you sing it better than anyone has ever sung it before? What if you're perfectly on pitch and you embarrass everyone else?” He chuckled as he tugged a bottle of Visine from his pocket and handed it to Braeda. “What if your performance gets you laid so many times you have to put girls on a waiting list?”
Braeda laughed at that. “Not likely.”
“I dunno, dude… I saw how Rebecca Catalina's been eyeing you lately.”
Braeda shook his head, opening his glove box and getting a small bottle of cologne out. “Not that one. She's not my style. But I have noticed how Catherine Armstrong's been looking at me.”
“That's because you can bench press almost as much as Mr. Armstrong.” He furrowed his blond brows and asked, “Don't you and Roy's aunt have some kinda thing going on?”
Braeda shrugged. “Maybe? Not really? I dunno. She's always telling me to keep my options open, anyway.” He put the eye drops in and blinked a few times, then spritzed himself and his friend with the cologne. “Showtime. You sticking around?”
“Nah, I'm gonna meet Sciezka for some Netflix and chill. Call me later if you want, we can get drunk at Roy's.”
They got out of the vehicle, Braeda smoothing his tuxedo with a lint roller. “Thanks for taking the edge off with me.”
Havoc waved as he walked toward his car. “Break a leg, Braeda!”
Taking a deep breath, he walked toward the school auditorium.
Once he took his place in front of the choir, it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. He wasn't alone up there, just further away from his normal spot than usual. He couldn't look at his mother, sitting close to the front on his right. Instead, he stared at the exit signs at the back of the auditorium as he led the rest of the choir in a multilingual version of “Lo, How a Rose E're Blooming”.
The applause at the end had been worth all the nerves and anxiety, and the look of pride on his mother's face was the icing on the cake. He took his spot among the rest of the tenors and continued with the concert.
At the end, the director thanked everyone for coming, called both Braeda and the soprano soloist, Martel, up to the front for a final bow- and the standing ovation was something he hadn't expected. He was sure they were applauding for Martel alone, but then he spied Catherine Armstrong in the crowd, locking eyes with him while clapping furiously beside her older brother, Mr. Armstrong, the gym teacher.
His mother, all five feet of her, scrambled to his side once the crowd spilled out into the halls. Her dark brown hair was in a braided bun at the top of her head, a black pea coat wrapped around her tiny body, the skirt of her bright red dress swishing as she walked in sparkling silver heels toward him.
“Oh, you were so handsome up there!” she said with a wide smile. “Such a lovely voice, sweetie. You could make the angels weep!”
He felt his cheeks heat. “C'mon, Mom...”
She apologized for embarrassing him and gave him a tight hug. “Well, at any rate, it was a beautiful kick off to Christmas break. You were amazing up there, I'm very proud of you.”
He thanked her with a kiss to her cheek, then the principal came up to them and shook hands with them both. The balding old man encouraged Braeda to keep up the great work and congratulated him again on his scholarship to Dublith University, and then Braeda had about enough of his bow tie and tuxedo.
“I'll meet you back at home,” he said to his mother. “Havoc said something about meeting up, but I might just stay in tonight.”
His mother was tugging on her Isotoner gloves and looking in her purse for her keys. “Well, I'm gonna go get out of these damned heels, I see you when you get home, baby. Drive safe!” He watched her scurry toward the door, then he turned to go to the rehearsal room to grab his coat and tell the director and his friends goodbye.
Just as he started his van up to leave, his cell phone rang. It was Havoc. Braeda answered, “Hey, what's up?”
“How's that leg?”
He chuckled. “Nice and broken. Got a standing ovation and everything.”
“See!? I told ya- nothin' to worry about. So- you down for getting wasted at Roy's?” he asked, the sound of a cigarette being lit in the background letting Braeda know that Havoc was likely just leaving Sciezka's place.
“Actually, I think I'm gonna stay home with mom. She looked so happy tonight, I just want her to keep smiling a little while longer.” Holidays were rough with his mom usually. She worked two jobs to keep them afloat and it was rare she got a night off to hear him sing.
“Cool, tell her I said hi and you guys have a good evening.”
“Thanks Havoc, I'll hit you up tomorrow afternoon or something.”
When Braeda got home, his mother had already changed into her pajamas and taken her hair down, but her smile was just as beautiful as it had been at the auditorium. She was holding a small, wrapped box with a tiny silver bow on top.
“I was going to wait until Christmas, but I want you to have it now,” she said as she tucked it into his hand.
He groaned, “Mom, it's alright, let's wait-”
“No, please- I want you to have it now.”
Braeda relented and agreed. “Can I at least get out of my monkey suit first?”
His mother laughed, taking the box back and shooing him upstairs. As he undressed, he wondered what in the world was so precious that it couldn't wait until Christmas morning. After hanging up the tux and putting the plastic protector back over it, he tugged on some comfy sweats and an old t-shirt and went back down to find his mom.
She patted the couch and he sat down beside her, kissing her cheek as she handed him the gift again. Gently, he shook it a little near his ear.
“It's the key to a brand new Ferrari?”
She snorted. “No, that's for me.”
“Then it must be a subway token!” he said with a laugh. Finally he opened it up and inside was a gold ring, antique looking, with diamonds embedded in the band in a masculine style. “Mom,” he breathed. “This must've cost you a fortune!”
His mom shook her head. “It belonged to my great grandfather, and it's been passed down for many generations. It's got our true family name engraved on the inside, see?”
Braeda peered at the band and sure enough, there was written in beautiful script, 'Bräde'. His mother continued, saying that the man who originally worn the ring had big fingers like he did.
“I was going to wait to give it to you, in case you wanted to use it as a wedding band. But I never married and I thought you might not either, so I wanted to give it to you now, especially since you got into Dublith University and you're doing so well with football and singing. It's your birthright, this ring. And you've more than proven yourself worthy of it.”
Braeda began, “I don't know what to say.”
“You don't have to say anything. I know what's in here,” she said, poking him in the chest with her finger. “You'll always be my baby, Hey, but I'm so proud of the man you've become.”
He pulled his mom into his arms and squeezed her. “Thank you so much, Mom. I love you.”
“I love you too, son.”
After she insisted he try it on, he slipped it onto his right hand, amazed that it fit because of the way his broken finger healed after a football accident a few years back.
“Like it was made just for me,” he said with a grin.
“I have another surprise for you,” she said as she walked into the kitchen, her wavy hair bouncing as she hurried off.
“Mom, I don't need anything else, really!”
Poking her head around the doorway, she asked. “You sure?”
“Of course! Let's find a Christmas movie on TV to watch, that's all I need!”
She sighed. “Well, alright. But don't you think a movie would be better to watch with your favorite snack!?” She came out from the kitchen carrying a tray of homemade hard candy and butterscotch chip cookies.
“Oh my fu-” he began excitedly. “I mean, oh my gosh, when did you find time to make all this? I haven't had hard candy since I was ten, at least!”
“I took two days off both jobs so I could do both this and hear you sing tonight.”
Braeda was worried as he took three cookies and a handful of candy. “Right before Christmas? Won't you get fired?”
She smiled. “Honey I've been working those same tired jobs for ten years. Let the new kids cover a few shifts, I wanted to spend some time with my kid!”
As Braeda snuggled into his mom's shoulder, he felt like a child again. It was wonderful for her to be home for once and spending some time with him. They settled on 'Home Alone' for the movie, and Braeda said quietly, “Mom, this is the best Christmas break ever.”
She pulled the blanket off the back of the couch and wrapped them both up in it. “I think so too, sweetie.”
Chapter 19: Out Cold
Title: Out Cold
Author: Sonja Jade
Series: Brotherhood (HS AU)
Word Count: 436
Characters: Roy, Havoc, Braeda, Ed, Ling, Winry (making her Stoner Series debut!)
Summary: Ed's friends try to convince him that mooning Winry is a good thing. Of course it isn't- but he does it anyway, and he finds out that maybe it was a good thing after all. And then he fainted.
Warnings: No beta! No time!
Author’s Notes: Part of the Stoner Series! This is the longer Director's Cut, though the original post submitted for voting can be read HERE.
Prompt: Full Moon
Havoc groaned, tossing dollar bills in his direction. “C'mon, you pussy!”
Ed sat up with a jerk. “Fuck you! I don't care how much money you give me, I am not mooning Winry!”
Ling sat cross legged in the floor, rolling blunts with Braeda. “Why not? You said yourself you didn't have a shot in hell of dating her. What's the harm?”
Ed's jaw dropped and he was sure the older boys were guffawing at him. “Ling, she works on fucking cars, dude! She throws wrenches like Havoc throws knuckleballs! I'd be dead in the street!”
“Wait!” Roy said with a chuckle. “What if we did it together? That way you're not alone and we'll all have a good laugh! You can blame it on peer pressure!”
Ed tried to think of an out, but Ling reminded him that it would be a good opportunity to at least show her some of the goods she was missing out on by not dating him. He hated himself for it, but he caved and they made plans to go do it later that night.
Two hours later, five young men were in front of Winry's house, tossing pebbles at her window.
“Ed? What the hell-”
He swallowed, then joined his friends by quickly dropping his pants and bending over.
“Happy full moon, Winry!” they called out, shaking their bare asses in the moonlight.
He expected wrenches to fly at any moment. To Ed's surprise, she gave a whoop of excitement and a whistle.
“Damn, boys! But you know Ed's got the finest ass out of all of ya!”
Ed's eyes went wide. Did she just compliment his butt!? Roy elbowed him and encouraged him to talk to her.
He hissed, “Are you kidding? She's gonna laugh me right out of town!”
There was a sound behind them, and they all pulled up their britches and turned around. Winry had come out to the porch with a bottle of Captain Morgan, a bottle of Pepsi, and plastic cups. “That was awesome guys, have a drink on me!”
Havoc didn't need to be told twice and quickly assumed the role of bartender. Edward however found himself being taken by the hand to the opposite side of the porch by Winry. She smelled like she'd had a sip or two of the rum already, and she grinned at him.
“Turnabout's fair play, y'know.”
“Huh?” Ed asked, his face hot. He watched with wide eyes as she tugged her shirt over her head- her bare breasts right there and beautiful and pale and… and…
“Ohmygod,” he whimpered as he fainted.
Chapter 20: Answer That! (and Stay Conscious!)
Title: Answer That! (and Stay Conscious!)
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 400
Characters: Winry, Ed, Roy, Ling, Havoc, Braeda
Summary: A continuation of last week's entry, “Out Cold”, where Winry flashes Ed and he passes out. In this entry, Ed comes to and gets yet another surprise, but this one comes with two rewards and no passing out.
Warnings: Drug use, teenagers drinking
Author’s Notes: Thanks to bay115 for the beta work! Wanna see Winry's pipe? She's gonna have aluminum window screening on both the bowl and the mouth, secured by hose clamps.
Edward fell with a thud and everyone turned to look. Roy saw the girl Ed was all hung up on, clutching her shirt to her chest and Ed out cold on the porch.
“Jesus, Ed!” Winry gasped as she shimmied into her shirt and began checking him for injuries. Braeda and Havoc shoved past Roy to check him, too. They played sports and knew a lot about first aid.
“Is he gonna be alright?” Ling asked, mildly concerned.
Braeda had grabbed a cushion from a chair and stuffed it under Ed's head while Havoc was smacking lightly at his cheeks and calling his name. Roy clarified Ed's reaction to Winry.
“He's had a crush on you for, like, ever.” Roy thought she was cute, but too young for his tastes. “Seeing your tits was probably a life long dream come true. Like winning the lottery or something,” he babbled.
The girl wrung her hands. “He likes me?” she asked.
“I'd even bet he loves you.”
“Oh.” She blushed. “We've been good friends for a long time. I never knew...”
Ling wandered over. “He said something about you not approving of his smoking habit. Probably why he never mentioned it.”
Ed was stirring on the floorboards, finally coming to. Roy point blank asked Winry, “You know he smokes weed too, right?”
She frowned. “No. But that's not the problem. When my parents died, my Granny chain smoked Camels and that smell makes me remember their death. I didn't know he smoked the other stuff.” She muttered that she should've known from the smell of his clothes.
Roy apologized for bringing up bad memories and she waved him off. She told him she was going to get Ed a glass of water and would be right back, so Ling and Roy went to check on Ed.
He was sitting up now, eyes wide and face pale. “How long was I out?” he kept asking. Braeda insisted it didn't matter, to just relax and take slow, deep breaths.
When Winry returned, she had a tall glass of ice water in one hand and a little metal thing in the other. She sat down in front of Ed and apologized for making him faint. He mumbled something about a happy accident and not to worry, and all seemed well between them.
“Wanna smoke a bowl with me?” she asked, taking the metal thing and packing it from a little baggie she pulled from her pocket. Ed's jaw dropped and she grinned. “Check out this pipe! It's a crankshaft ventilation tube!” When he just blinked and blushed at her, she said gently, “We're best buds, you tell me everything… everything but the important stuff.” She fished a lighter from her pocket and handed both it and the packed pipe to him.
“Here, dork chop. Welcome to boyfriend status.”
“And they lived happily ever after,” Braeda cooed, getting back to his feet.
They all laughed when Ed flipped him off. The brat would be fine.
Chapter 21: Never Again
Title: Never Again
Author: Sonja Jade
Word Count: 1670
Characters: Roy/Riza, Rebecca, Braeda
Summary: Rebecca convinces Riza that the little pill in her hand is way better than that skunk weed her boyfriend smokes. But once that little pill wears off, Riza’s positive she’s never going to listen to her friend ever again.
Warnings: Underage drinking, hard drug use, High School AU, NO BETA
Author’s Notes: Part of the Stoner Series
A maxi dress went flying past Riza’s head. She sighed. “Just pick something, we’re already late, Rebecca.”
A frustrated growl came from inside the closet. “I might meet the man of my dreams at this party and you’re rushing me? Christ, Riza! Not everyone is as easy to please as that burn-out you’re fucking engaged to!” Three more dresses went sailing through the air before Riza’s very eccentric and one track minded friend had an ‘ah-ha!’ moment and she settled on something. She dressed quickly, stepping into strappy wedges and grabbing a cute little purse. She loaded it up with her phone and house key, fake ID and some cash, and then she pulled a tiny tin of mini-Altoids from her bigger purse and opened it up.
“I got something to make the night a little interesting,” she said, her mouth curled into a mischievous grin.
Riza frowned at her. “What the hell, Rebecca? You said you weren’t interested in getting high- like ever!”
She brushed her comments off and untwisted a scrap of a baggie. She pulled out two little pills before closing the whole thing back up and tucking it in her party handbag. “This is nothing like what you’re used to. Weed is like being tired and walking in mud. This is like being a child again, playing at your favorite playground with your favorite friend, eating your favorite ice cream.”
Riza crossed her arms. While the idea of a high like that was appealing, she also didn’t want to become some kind of addict that ended up dead on the news. “I don’t want to do anything more than weed. I’m sure if you ask a meth-head, they’ve got great things to say about meth.”
Now it was Rebecca’s turn to cross her arms. “I can’t believe you right now. I would never give you something that would put you in danger. Ecstasy is completely safe! It’s not habit forming chemically! You can take one and not be hooked!”
“Well you seem pretty hooked to me!”
“I only take it at parties! Besides- it’s too expensive to take all the time! It just makes a great time even better!” She handed the pill to Riza. “Don’t be such a baby, Riz. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to take any more of it.”
She went on to say it lasted about four to five hours, and when she woke up in the morning she might feel like she had a hangover, but that was all. Despite not being 100% sure about the ecstasy, she was 100% sure Rebecca wouldn’t give her something that would put her in life-threatening danger. She took the pill and swallowed it down with what was left in her water bottle and Rebecca did the same.
“Alright! Let’s par-tay!”
They left her room hand in hand, ready to start the night.
Riza was sure she could hear and distinguish every single note coming through the speakers at Maes Hughes’ big house party. The flavor of her beer danced across her tongue in Technicolor clarity. The feel of Roy’s hands on her waist as they danced was a sensation that she couldn’t equate to anything else- the topography of his palms pressed into the oceans of her skin and she laughed into his kisses. Everything was so beautiful and magical and perfect, it was easy to see what it was Rebecca liked about Ecstasy.
Roy leaned forward and nibbled on her ear and it felt like a lick of flame against her. She groaned and his grip slid to her hips.
“Maybe we should go back to my place,” he commented, tugging her gently against his body.
Riza whined playfully. “Do we have to? I mean, just a little longer, baby…”
He narrowed his eyes at her. “Are you drunk?”
She laughed and caught his lips in a wet kiss. “Only on you, Roy.” She smelled his throat- a fragrance that was fresh, earthy, and spicy with hints of ‘Chinese Eyes’. “My god, you smell amazing.”
The music thumped around them like a heartbeat in the floorboards, and the conversations filling in the rest of the auditory space seemed to thrum with excitement and joy. And from far away, she heard Braeda’s rich baritone approaching. She turned toward the sound of his voice.
“Roy, we gotta talk, let’s step outside for a bit.” He patted Riza’s shoulder and she smiled at him as if he were a god. The weight of his touch was so gentle and calming, and she couldn’t help but reach up and rub her fingertips against the shaved parts of his hair. Roy guided her to begin walking though and she couldn’t continue to touch the prickly auburn buzz cut as she liked.
They walked outside to the patio, where a blissful breeze was blowing. Riza stepped out of Roy’s embrace to throw her arms open wide and stand in the wind. She heard Braeda’s voice drop and listened as she heard him tell Roy about the ecstasy.
“Jesus, no wonder she’s acting so strange,” Roy grumbled.
“She’s gonna drop hard,” Braeda replied, as if she couldn’t hear every word he said. “She’s not used to doing anything very heavy. Maybe you should take her home, get her into bed before it wears off.”
Roy agreed with him and before he could make it to her side, she turned around and said, “We’re not leaving until I get to touch Braeda’s hair again.”
Roy stared at her (with his deep onyx eyes that had the barest glints of slate gray and steel in them), seemingly at odds with himself how to handle her at the pinnacle of her ecstasy experience. Luckily Braeda was happy to sit down in a lawn chair beside her and give her three minutes of joy with his red locks.
But when she started rubbing her cheeks against the burred sides of his head, Roy tugged her away, taking her back to his pool house apartment in his Aunt’s back yard, getting her naked and into his bed. After quite possibly the best sex of her life, she drifted off to sleep in his arms, the feel of soft, buttery smooth, fragrant sheets surrounding them both.
The next morning, the world seemed gray. It wasn’t warm enough in Roy’s arms for her, the sunlight coming through the windows seemed to be glaring instead of warm and glowing. Roy’s light snores (usually so cute and endearing) were grating and annoying. The sheets felt too rough and she smelled like she’d spilled beer down her chest.
“Ugh,” she said with a groan, rolling away from Roy and eventually going to take a shower in his tiny bathroom.
His soaps didn’t smell right to her, the water not refreshing. It was like everything was in complete contrast to the way she’d experienced it the night before. She toweled off with a frown and set about getting something to eat. Everything tasted like cardboard and in a weird way, she felt like bursting into tears.
Her phone had several messages from Rebecca, some asking where she’d gone, others asking if she was enjoying her high, and then one from that very morning asking how she was faring afterward.
“Feel like shit, everything sucks. Never again,” she texted back.
A few moments later, she received a response: “Dopamine and serotonin all used up last night. Will take a day or two to recharge.”
She sighed through her nose, quickly texted back, “Never again,” once more, then slammed the phone down on the couch.
Roy sat up, wiping his eyes. “Hey,” he said with a yawn.
“Hey.” She sounded ready to punch something in the face, even to herself.
“How do you feel?” he asked, getting out of bed naked and walking to the bathroom.
“Shitty. Depressed. Maybe embarrassed and ashamed.”
He shook his head as he used the toilet, leaving the door open so they could continue their conversation.
“Nah, we’ve all tried it. And it’s great when it’s there and happening. But then it’s gone and everything sucks.” He flushed and washed his hands. “Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?”
Riza shook her head and he sat down beside her on the sofa. “I can’t decide if I want to curl up and listen to Morrisey or cry.”
“If you listen to Morrisey, I’ll cry,” he commented with a grin. “How about we start with something simple, like a bowl of greens. Then we can go to Waffle House and get something to eat, and maybe we can spend the afternoon reading in the park on a blanket in the sun.”
Riza took his hand, the ruby ring that belonged to Roy’s mother sparkling on her finger. “You’re not mad at me?” she asked quietly.
“Of course not,” he answered, leaning in to kiss her. “But next time you want to try something, ask me. I’ve tried just about everything and can give you a run down. Besides- there’s a reason weed is the only thing I do now.”
Once dressed and on their way to get something to eat, the world seemed to get a little color back into it. And why did she ever think she needed anything other than the young man beside her to enjoy life? She took his hand and squeezed. The feeling of having someone beside her that would watch her back always was a more ecstatic feeling than any of the ones she’s had at the party.
Chapter 22: Inventions
Aunt Chris comes home after running errands all afternoon to find Roy has made a modification to the fridge…
Author: Sonja Jade
Series: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (HS AU)
Word Count: 606
Characters: Madame Christmas, Roy
Summary: Aunt Chris comes home after running errands all afternoon to find Roy has made a modification to the fridge…
Warnings: kids and their stoner ideas
Author’s Notes: Inspired by a video I saw on Tumblr lol
Chris Mustang was exhausted. She’d taken the day off to pick out finishes for the remodel of Roy’s pool house apartment, which had nearly burned down due to some faulty wiring. Rather than just half-assing the repairs, she opted to really do it right and gut it, starting from the studs. The good news was in doing that, the wiring and plumbing would be all new and up to code, but the bad news was she had to decide everything from paint to carpet to tile, the design of the new bathroom and kitchenette, and whether or not to expand the space by five feet to make it even with the concrete patio (and give Riza some room to move in with Roy if she wanted). After all that, she still had errands to run for the club, and the summer heat was outrageous. All she wanted to do when she got home was get a glass of ice water, take all her clothes off, and lay down under the ceiling fan in her bedroom.
She sat her purse down on the kitchen table, along with the final drawings and paperwork for the pool house, then kicked off her shoes and fished out a cigarette from the hard case between her breasts. After lighting up, she grabbed a glass from the dishwasher and pressed it to the lever under the ice cube dispenser.
But it wasn’t ice that dropped into the glass. Frozen pizza rolls pinged into the tumbler and she frowned. Sure that she had to be suffering from heat stroke, she pressed the glass to the lever again, and still more frozen crusty puffs fell into it.
“What the fuck…” she muttered as she opened the freezer door. She found three and a half storage bags full of the ice cubes she was expecting, and at least five packs of pizza rolls stacked neatly among the rest of the frozen foods. Setting the glass on the counter, she tugged the ice bin out and peeked inside. Sure enough, it was loaded with pizza rolls. A quick glance to the trash can revealed a variety of them, and Chris took a slow, deep breath.
“Roy?” she called, flipping her ashes into a nearby ashtray. “Can you c’mere a sec?” she asked once he acknowledged her.
He hurried down the hallway and joined her in the kitchen, and she took a long drag off her cigarette before saying anything. His eyes were bloodshot and he had that acrid stink surrounding him that let her know he was probably high as a kite.
“You’re mad,” he said regretfully, looking nervously at the refrigerator.
Chris shook her head. “Not mad. I just want to make sure this isn’t going to damage my fridge.”
“No, not at all!” he said cheerfully. “My friend has his own place and his has been set up like this for years!”
Too hot and too tired to argue about it any further, Chris nodded. “Thank you for not throwing the ice out.” She then dumped the pizza rolls onto a paper plate, rinsed the glass out, and opened one of the ice baggies. “If you figure out how to get the water dispenser to pour scotch, let me know.”
Roy hugged her briefly, another sign he was stoned- he was too old for affection from her anymore- then disappeared back to his temporary room while his apartment was being rebuilt. As she waited for the microwave to heat up her snack, she thought about how nice it was that their living situation wasn’t permanent. Who knew what the kid would dream up next?
Chapter 23: Keep it Secret
Chapter by SonjaJade
Chris gets Roy a very obvious gift and begs him to hide it before they all get into trouble, but finds Roy’s hiding skills to be very lame. Pretty, but SO cliché.
Title: Keep it Secret
Author/Artist: Sonja Jade
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Characters/Pairings: Chris Mustang, Roy Mustang/Riza Hawkeye
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters within this story based on the series by Hiromu Arakawa
Summary/Teaser: Chris gets Roy a very obvious gift and begs him to hide it before they all get into trouble, but finds Roy’s hiding skills to be very lame. Pretty, but SO cliché. (Part of my Stoner Series)
Word Count: 420 (teehee)
“Merry Christmas- now hide it before someone sees!”
Roy stared at it for a moment, jaw dropped open in disbelief and Chris hissed at him.
He jumped, covering it back up with the black garbage bag it came in and dashed out to his pool house apartment, following her orders at last.
She sighed in relief that the three-foot-tall pot plant was out of her house. Why she even agreed to bring it home in the first place was still a mystery, but she knew Roy would love it and it was a good deal. Knowing Roy, he’d have it all smoked before New Year’s, anyway. She lit a cigarette and put it out of her mind. He seemed thrilled with it, and that would take care of Christmas until next year.
Two days later, Roy came in through the back door.
“I wanted to know if you could look at the plant, tell me if we hid it good enough,” he said with a grin.
She sighed, pushing up out of the recliner and sliding on a pair of fuzzy slippers. Grabbing her coat off the back of a kitchen chair, she followed him to his small place. His blonde fiancé held the door open for them, and Chris looked past Roy to see the plant.
They’d draped it in lights and tinsel, some lightweight foil ornaments hanging off the outermost leaves. A blinking LED tree skirt covered the pot at the bottom and a glittering snowflake dangled from the ceiling close to the top, acting as a star for the illegal tree.
“You are so unimaginative,” she said, ruffling his hair. “You’re not fooling anyone with that thing, y’know.”
Roy said nothing, only huffed through his nose and crossed his arms. She wandered closer to it, noticing he’d already cut some of the sticky blooms and had them drying out in a crystal candy dish near the microwave. Suddenly she wondered if she shouldn’t have gotten him a wine kit instead…
“Still, it is pretty. Very silvery and colorful. I like the snowflake.” Her comments put a smile on both their faces. That made her feel good inside, to see them happy.
“So, do I get to sample some of the crop or is it only for people under twenty-five?”
She was pleasantly surprised when Roy went right away and pulled the bong from the top of the fridge and packed it. She was even more amazed when he ordered pizzas when the munchies came.
Title: Road Trip of a Lifetime
Author/Artist: Sonja Jade
Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Characters/Pairings: Havoc, Braeda, Roy, Ed and Ling (ala Stoner Series)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters within this story based on the series by Hiromu Arakawa
Summary/Teaser: The boys come up with the most daring adventure ever attempted, pull it off, and then avoid getting caught, starting the year off right!
Word Count: 443
“Go, go, go!” Havoc shouted as he practically threw Ling in the back seat and slammed the door. “We fuckin’ did it!”
Braeda drove carefully but quickly down the dark, winding mountain road. “Oh, my god, I can’t wait to see it!” he cried, grinning from ear to ear as Havoc tried to catch his breath. Ed was on drink duty, passing water bottles to both young men while Roy was on the lookout for the police.
“Easy-peasy,” Havoc gasped. “Those letters are way bigger in real life, though.”
“Ling, you alright back there?” Roy called from the front of the van.
A hand shot up in the air, giving the thumbs up while Ed spoke for him. "He's wheezing, but he's alive."
Braeda started laughing. “I can’t fuckin’ believe we did it! I just can’t! We’ll go down in history for this!”
“Jesus, I hope they don’t ever figure out who did it,” Roy commented as he scanned the road ahead for any signs of flashing blue lights. Finally, the GPS Braeda had pulled up on his phone guided them down to a frontage road, and eventually they hopped on the 101 and made tracks to get the hell out of Los Angeles.
After driving about almost five hours, they crossed the border into Arizona. They pulled off and rented a room to get some sleep, and to check the news. No sooner than they’d entered, Roy flipped on the television and it was already scrolling on the local news channel.
“Hollywood sign defaced on New Year’s Eve to read ‘Hollyweed’. Police are asking for help finding the persons behind the incident.”
“I still can’t believe it,” Braeda said as he grabbed Havoc’s shoulder. “Almost two thousand miles and two days of driving last minute and we actually fucking pulled it off. This is the best night of my life.”
Ed sat down on the bed, grinning at the TV. “I don’t even care if mom finds out. I don’t care if I have to go to boarding school or anything- this was definitely the best night of my life, too.”
“Gentlemen,” Ling interrupted, “this calls for a celebration.”
As the morning news show ran the story about the ‘Hollyweed’ sign, the five friends passed around a very special blunt filled with a mixture Ling affectionately called “Fuck ‘Em Up”, which was a blend of his strain of Chinese Eyes, his father’s King Kush, and hash oil that they’d cut with Captain Morgan spiced rum.
They only made two rounds before they put it out and rolled over to rest. Their great caper had been successful.
What a time to be alive.
Chapter 25: You're Home Early!
Chapter by SonjaJade
Braeda brings a girl home for a very specific kind of study session, only to realize when they're done that his mother has come home early.
Braeda knew the tension had been building for months. Mr. Armstrong’s little sister Catherine had a major crush on him, and while she didn’t come right out and tell him she wanted to go out with him, she managed to make her feelings clear with subtle flirting and showing up at every school event he was performing at, from football games to choir concerts.
Catherine was a tiny girl, but she was mighty- she played fast pitch softball as pitcher, and she had so much power in her pitching arm that girls were afraid to play against her. She liked Braeda for his size and strength, but also for his musical ability, as she played piano with the school orchestra and at the church her family attended.
Regardless of the family’s faith, however, Braeda was a little surprised when she caught up to him in the parking lot and shyly asked if they could study Amestrian History together. He knew she was a straight A student, so likely she had anything but studying on her mind. But since Havoc had gotten more and more into Sciezka, and Roy was busy looking for apartments near University of Liore with Riza, Braeda figured taking Catherine home to ‘study’ might prove to be worth his while.
He was expecting some making out, or maybe some nervous touches below the belt. But Catherine had more than silly games in mind, and once he found his bottom half stripped bare and his new friend hiking up her skirt and taking off her panties, he realized just how far she wanted to go.
It was hard to watch her as she sucked his cock before rolling the condom on, because she was so cute with her blushing cheeks and baby face. When she climbed on top of him, she took her top off and unhooked her bra and Braeda thought he just might be the luckiest guy in the world.
She gasped as she began to roll her hips over his, chewed her bottom lip when he grabbed her ass and pushed into her deeper, and closed her eyes when he sat up to kiss her.
“Is this okay?” she panted as Braeda left wet kisses on her neck.
“I’m not stopping, am I?” he rumbled.
“No, is it good? Am I doing alright?”
He paused within her, touching her chin and making her look at him. “You’re doing amazing. Am I doing okay?”
“I’ve wanted this for so long, you’re as perfect as I imagined,” she whispered, leaning in for another kiss. He wrapped his arms around her back as she started rocking against him once more, squeezing him inside her warm body deliciously.
His big hand cupped her breast, softly caressing the skin before teasing her nipple to stand, and she moaned against his mouth. After that, he gave up keeping track of everything and just let nature take its course between them.
Of course, she knew how to make herself come in that position. Apparently, she didn’t just play the piano and softball, as he assumed. After Catherine’s climax, she moved off him and invited him to finish up any way he liked. He asked her if doggy style was alright, and she immediately moved into place.
His bed squeaked and creaked as he fucked her hard from behind, Catherine herself moaned his name and gave him praises to help him along. After a few minutes, Braeda finally finished and thanked her for such a wonderful study session. She took the condom off and threw it away, then spent a few minutes licking him clean before gathering up her clothes and dressing again.
And then Braeda’s heart dropped through the floor into the basement:
“If you guys are done, I brought home KFC! There’s plenty for everyone!”
Catherine’s face paled. “Was that your mother?”
Braeda felt sick to his stomach. “I thought she worked both jobs today, I don’t know what she’s doing home.” He apologized to Catherine, saying she certainly did not have to stay for dinner and that he would run interference if she wanted to duck out to his van and he would drive her home.
She smiled. “No, I’d like to say hello at least. Besides, she doesn’t seem upset.”
Braeda didn’t share her enthusiasm. He led them downstairs anyway and peeked around the corner into the kitchen, where his mom was making a plate for herself and spooning gravy onto some mashed potatoes. She looked up and smiled at them. “Hey guys! Get yourself a plate, there’s plenty here!” She turned to Catherine. “I’m Hey’s mom, Ida.”
Catherine introduced herself, saying, “Sorry if we disturbed you, Braeda said he thought you weren’t home.”
Meanwhile, Braeda was mortified at such a casual conversation about his having sex in the same house his mother was in.
His mom seemed unconcerned, explaining that her second job had a water pipe burst and everyone was sent home early. She grabbed her plate of food and told them again to get something to eat if they wanted to, but Catherine excused herself to go home and have dinner with her own family. Braeda hurriedly offered to take her home, but Catherine said it wasn’t very far and that she’d enjoy the walk before eating.
“Thank you for the offer though, maybe some other time.” She thanked Braeda for having him over, then he showed her to the door and watched her walk down the sidewalk for a bit before turning back to the kitchen.
He didn’t want to look at his mom, but he knew she was looking at him. He was starving though, so he put up with it while he made his plate. But when he turned to go back to his room, she said from the table, “Not so fast, mister.”
He sighed, went to sit at the table, and stared at his food while he waited for her to lecture him about safe sex.
She asked, “Did you use a condom?”
“Of course,” he mumbled.
“And did you ask before you started?”
Braeda’s face burned. “She kinda started it. But yes, she asked.”
“Alright.” And with that, it was over. She started telling him about what had happened at work, raved that their manager was going to pay them even though they were sent home, and asked if he had any other plans she needed to know about.
“No, no other plans,” he said around a mouthful of chicken.
“Wanna go to the movies?”
“No offense, but I kinda want to crawl under a rock and die.”
She chuckled, apologizing for interrupting his afternoon. She asked if she would be seeing more of Catherine or if that was a one and done type thing, Braeda said he didn’t know.
“Can we stop talking about this? I’m super uncomfortable.”
Ida nodded. “Me too. I’m gonna go soak in the tub, why don’t you find Havoc and we’ll pretend this never happened.”
Braeda absolutely agreed with that. Heeding his mother's words, he found his friend and proceeded to smoke the memory of being caught balls deep in his teacher's little sister away.
Chapter 26: Answer That! (and don't puke!)
Chapter by SonjaJade
Ed offhandedly challenges his brother to see who is a more professional smoker. Things don't go as planned, but all's well in the end. Maybe not for Ling, though.
“I could probably outsmoke you if I wanted to.”
“Whatever, Al,” Ed cried, packing the bowl of his little glass pipe. “You’ve never smoked anything in your entire life! You’d cough and gag and puke, I bet!”
Ling watched with great interest as his little sister’s boyfriend and best friend’s brother crossed his arms and arched his eyebrow.
“You wanna bet? I’m down for a bet!”
Both Ling and Mei looked to Ed for an answer. The older brother seemed shocked that Al would even agree to such a thing, and once the shock wore off, Ed laughed hard.
“Wow, this is gonna be an easy win! Sure, I bet you can’t outsmoke me!” He looked over to Ling. “Wanna set it up? Get the guys and take bets on who wins?”
Ling smiled. “You know just what to say to move my heartstrings, Ed. I’ll handle everything.”
Two nights later, the whole gang met at a favorite smoke spot- a little clearing at a park that bordered the expressway. It was off the trail, back by the sound barrier, and they made a small campfire to gather around.
Ling cleared his throat and opened the challenge- by tossing two handfuls of confetti everywhere.
“Tonight, we pit brother against brother, to see which of the Elric boys has lungs of steel, and which one should stick to sucking helium. Let’s first begin by letting each one give their argument as to why they’ll win. Al, since you’re the challenger, you go first.” He sat down on a log and Al stood up, cool and collected as Ed fidgeted beside him.
“I think I’ll win because I’ve got more patience and determination than Ed does. It’s true that I don’t smoke very often at all, but I know how it’s done. Tonight, I’ll show Ed how it’s done.”
Havoc laughed and complimented Al on his sick burn as he sat down, and Braeda took a quick break from packing the bong to declare he had twenty bucks on Al. Roy seemed to be mentally taking notes and carefully considering each brother’s side, while Mei only smiled at her boyfriend and encouraged him to kick Ed’s ass.
Ed stood up and jammed his hands in his pockets. “You guys have seen me smoke lots of times. You know I can hold my own and get sky high just like mother nature intended. I have never seen my brother smoke, and I’m going to smoke him into the ground tonight!”
Ling asked everyone to place their bets with him as to who would win. “Cash only, and I get twenty percent of the winnings.”
Havoc put ten on Ed, Roy put five on Al and ten on Ed, Braeda placed twenty on Al as he said he would, Mei put all she had on Al (a whopping four dollars), and Ling put thirty on Ed, though he secretly hoped Al would win.
“So, what are we playing for?” Ed asked. “Besides bragging rights!”
Ling rose again and took out a one hundred dollar bill and a five gram packet of ‘Fuck ‘Em Up’, his specially blended concoction guaranteed to make whoever smoking it soar into the clouds for a solid four hours before returning to earth. “The winner gets all of this, bragging rights, and this plastic gold medal I bought at Goodwill for a quarter,” he said pointing to the red, white, and blue ribbon around his neck. “The loser has to drink the bong water.”
Everyone whooped and yelled in disgust, knowing full well that you were never ever supposed to drink the bong water. Even spilling it was a crime, as the smell was hard to remove and a little could stink up a whole room in a matter of minutes. Once everyone calmed down, Ling went on to say, “If you don’t puke, I’ll personally give you one hundred dollars as well. Do these rules appear fair to everyone?”
Braeda joined him by the fire, bent down and swished the water around in the bong, chuckling as he peered through the glass chamber. “It’s so brown you almost can’t see through it! If whoever drinks this doesn’t puke, I’ll give you the last of my paycheck, which is about forty-five bucks!”
Roy and Havoc offered up money as well, fifty between the two of them. Ling whistled. “Sounds like the loser stands to make two hundred bucks! Will Ed throw the challenge to win the money?”
“Fuck that, I’m in it to win it. I am not drinking bong water!” He sat down next to his brother. “You ready to lose, widdle brudder?”
Al didn’t say anything in reply, just stared Ed down like a bad dog who’d gotten in the trash. Braeda handed him the bong and a lighter, saying they would be playing by suicide rules, meaning that when Al took his first drag, he had to hold it in until after Ed took his and passed the bong back, and vice-versa. The brothers agreed and Al wasted no time in lighting up.
He lit the bowl, sucked the smoke down into the chamber, bubbling the impurities out. He removed the bowl and sucked the smoke deep into his chest and passed everything to Ed, not a cough or a sputter to be heard among them.
Ed stared at him in disbelief, then pulled his toke through the water as well. He filled his lungs and handed the water pipe back to Al, who blew smoke rings out slowly.
“Damn, Al!” Roy exclaimed. “I’ve been smoking for years and still can’t blow rings!”
Al ignored him for the moment, taking his second lungful from the bong before shuffling it back to Ed. Then he gave him a thumb’s up signal, leaned over and put his arm around Mei.
Ed seemed flabbergasted at Al’s ability to keep up with him. He tried to take his time dragging from the bowl, but Ling put an end to that immediately.
“If you cheat Ed, you’re drinking the bong water, regardless.”
He nodded, giving the bong back to Al. Al set it down, grabbed Mei’s face and kissed her deeply, and as she exhaled a cloud of smoke, Roy and Havoc cheered while Al ripped another toke from the bong.
Ling ignored the showboating for watching Ed very closely. He let his toke out with a gasp and panted for breath before lighting the bowl and catching another chest full of THC. He hurriedly handed his brother the bong and watched as Al burned up the rest of the bowl- and began to sing. It didn’t sound right, but he was definitely singing. And that’s when Ed started coughing.
He gagged and coughed like someone who’d never smoked before, and Ling’s mouth dropped open. He’d heard Ed cough a little before, like when they were testing out his father’s strain of King Kush, but it wasn’t like this.
Ed coughed so long and so hard, Ling was really concerned for his friend. Braeda came over and gave him the rest of his Dr. Pepper to clear his throat, but it didn’t seem to help much.
“You alright, Ed?” Al asked, smoke rolling from his lips as he spoke.
He nodded, though he continued to cough. Finally, after what seemed like several long minutes, he sat wiping his eyes and gasping for air.
“How in the hell…” Ed croaked. “I don’t get it; how can you do that?”
Al answered plainly, “Remember when I was in a coma for a little while? I lost sense in my lungs. The doctors say it’s a specific kind of brain damage. I don’t taste everything right either.” He went on to apologize, saying he didn’t realize Ed had forgotten about the three month hospital stay he had as a kid, and that they could have a rematch if he wanted.
Ed shook his head. “You played fair and square. I should respect you a little more when you make claims you’re willing to back up.” He grabbed the bong and swirled the filtered waste water around. “Guess I better try to keep a swallow of this down, huh?”
Just as he was about to tip it back and take a sip, Al suddenly grabbed it from him and took two big gulps. Everyone was astonished at what was happening, asking Al if he’d lost his damn mind.
“I can’t even taste it. Like I can taste some of it, like the metals in the water, maybe? But it’s not gross. It just tastes like tap water to me.”
Ed frowned. He took a sip and promptly vomited on his shoes. Mei shrieked and scurried away from him, and the others simply stared in amazement.
“Al, why don’t you ever smoke with us?” Ling asked.
He shrugged. “It doesn’t really do anything for me. Besides, I have more fun with Mei than I would with you guys. We go places and do stuff, have fun, play video games, go to parties… Mess around in bed…”
Ling gathered all the money promised and divided it equally in half and handed each brother a stack of bills. “You’re both deserving of the prize. I’ve never seen anyone smoke as cool as Al does, and I’ve never seen anyone be as gracious a loser as Ed. Congratulations to you both for a well-played match.”
They gathered everything up and put the fire out, ready to leave after Ed vomited and stunk up the place. Braeda made Ed take his puke covered shoes off and tie them to the luggage rack on the roof before he would drive anybody home. After that, they made their way to Ed and Al’s house first, and then Ling’s house.
As he and Mei entered the house, he asked her in Chinese, “Did you know he could do that?”
She shook her head. “No! We’ve smoked like twice together, and neither time did he do any of that!”
Ling hummed in thought. “Maybe I picked the wrong brother to be friends with.”
She glared at him. “If you think I’m trading you for Ed, you’ve got another thing coming.”
“Ed’s a nice guy, what’s wrong with him?”
“I don’t want to do the things I do with Al with him.” She started taking her hair down. “That’s just gross.”
“What do you mean?” Ling asked, genuinely intrigued.
Mei leaned against the doorjamb. “So, you know how Al is the coolest smoker you know? He’s like that in bed, too.”
“Yeah. Not doing anything like that with Ed, not on your life.” She thanked him for inviting her along and then closed her door to go to bed. Ling went to the kitchen to grab a sandwich, careful so as not to wake his father. As he passed ‘The Grow Room’, he remembered to grab the water bong out of the cabinet over the washer and dryer. He went back to his own room to finish his snack and take a closer look at the water inside it.
He kept his water bong clean and mostly clear, rinsing it out after every two or three uses. It was time to change the water now because it was a little cloudy, a little off color, and stinking like skunk weed. But the bong water that Ed and Al had drank that night was almost opaque, dark as a Coca-Cola judging by how much light filtered through it at the campfire. Ling brought the lip of the bong to his mouth and took a drink.
And promptly vomited on his shoes.
Chapter 27: A Fair Price to Pay
Chapter by SonjaJade
As Ed and Winry's relationship progresses, his mother increases the severity of his punishments. Getting caught smoking weed and failing math, now getting caught having sex? Tricia Elric is on the warpath until finally she sees the light, and Ed ponders his stance on God as a result.
“Oh no!” Havoc exclaimed, pointing. “Look at Ed!”
Roy and Braeda turned to find the youngest of their smoking circle scowling at his boots, hands jammed angrily into his jean pockets and stomping toward them as if he were hoping to put a hole in the pavement.
That in itself wasn’t anything new, but the fact that his long ponytail was missing was.
Everyone’s mouth hung open as Ed approached. They’d heard from Ling that his mother had been cracking down on him hard after failing algebra and getting caught smoking weed, but no one imagined she’d make him cut his hair…
“Hey, can I get a light?” he grumbled as he shook out a cigarette, looking as if his little brother had given him the same haircut as his own as a prank.
Roy said nothing, just flipped open his Zippo and sparked it for Ed.
For a moment, the three seniors just stared, then finally Havoc broke the silence:
“What the hell happened?”
Ed blew smoke away from his friends and scratched his head. “My mom came home early yesterday… Me and Winry… we were, y’know…”
Braeda put his hands on his hips and grinned. “Took ya long enough!”
“Yeah, well…” Ed dragged another hit from the cigarette and fidgeted a moment. Then he took a deep breath and said, “She heard me ask Winry to pull my hair while she was riding me… And then mom threw open the door.”
The group’s loud reaction startled a few other students passing them in the parking lot. Ed motioned for them to keep it down, his cheeks blazing with embarrassment.
“Your mom is gonna have a heart attack one day because of you, you realize that right?” Roy commented with a chuckle.
Ed shook his head. “No, she’s going to literally kill me one day. I think she secretly hopes I get arrested and go to jail.”
“What’s Hoho say about all this? I mean, he’s got long hair too,” Havoc asked as he rearranged the contents of his back pack.
“My mom thinks I’m out of control and ruining Winry’s future as a mechanic. She has no idea Winry smokes more weed than I do, and I smoke a lot- or I did before mom decided to keep me on a short fucking leash. And it was Winry’s idea to mess around in bed- she doesn’t think Winry’s like that.”
Roy nodded and grabbed Ed’s shoulder. “Winry hides her true self much better than you do. You could learn a thing or two about discretion from her.” He reached up and tousled Ed’s short locks. “You know, you could pass for a sixth grader with that shit, right?”
Ed shoved his hand away, growling that Roy could pass for a toddler with his maturity. The first bell rang and the young men gathered their things to make their way into the school, finishing up morning cigarettes and cracking open energy drinks.
Later that night, as Ed lounged in bed with an algebra book and a cold slice of pizza, he wondered if what Roy had mentioned to him that morning was true, about putting on a good front for his mother while still living his life the way he wanted behind his mom’s back. He remembered that he’d done that before everything went sour. He also remembered feeling paranoid every minute he was out of his mom’s sight, as if somehow she could see through walls and time and know exactly what he was doing anyway.
He sighed. No, that wasn’t the right solution, but there had to be some way he could still be who he was without sneaking around every minute of the day.
Al knocked at the door (secret brother code, two short knocks and then a jiggle of the handle), and Ed said, “Yeah?”
Al came in, shutting the door behind him and moving to sit on the foot of the bed by Ed’s feet. He offered him a Coke and Ed put his math book down, grateful for the drink as he sat up.
“Can I ask you some questions about what happened?”
Ed rolled his eyes. “I don’t wanna hear any bullshit, alright? I’m suffering enough here.”
Al shook his head. “I wanna help you out. We both know how crazy mom can be sometimes.”
Ed frowned, then begrudgingly agreed. Surprisingly, Al’s questions weren’t along the lines of ‘What were you thinking?’ or ‘How could you be so stupid?’. They were things like ‘How do yours and Winry’s schedules line up?’, ‘Is there a reason you couldn’t do it at her house?’ and ‘How are your grades doing?’.
Ed wasn’t expecting his brother to be so nice to him, especially after he’d been the catalyst to all the trouble Ed was in now. But Ed answered honestly, something refreshing compared to all the stories and lies he’d been telling to cover his tracks the last several months. And by the end of their conversation, he and Al had worked out a realistic solution.
And Ed couldn’t wait to try it out.
Hohenheim sat on the front porch with a tablet, reading about the conflict in Afghanistan with a worried scowl. A soaking rain had been coming down most of the day, and he was enjoying the sound of the water beating off the surfaces all around him. The screen door opened and Trisha joined him with a cup of coffee and a smile. He grinned up at her and made room on the porch swing for her.
“Wow, it’s so much cooler since the rain came,” she commented as she sat down beside him.
“Yeah, it’s nice not to feel like you’re melting.” He turned the tablet off and sat it between them. “I know that look,” he said gently. “I know you’re worrying about Ed.”
She shrugged and took a sip of her coffee. Hohenheim took her hand and squeezed. “I guess I’ll always worry about him. And all the stuff he’s been getting into lately-”
“Trisha, you can’t keep him in the palm of your hand forever,” Hohenheim interrupted. “The tighter you hold on to him, the further away you push him.”
“Pot. Sex. Bad grades. Bad choice of friends.” She let out an exasperated sigh. “I can’t just stand by and watch him ruin his life!”
Hohenheim took a deep breath. He and Al had talked about how to handle her when it came to Ed, and seeing as Ed had slowly come to trust him at last, Hohenheim was going to do what he could to get Trisha to relax and see reason.
“Honey, he’s a teenager. They rebel and do stupid things- that they learn life lessons from. He may not fully understand what he’s doing, but our job now is to be a resource, a guide. If he has concerns or questions, he needs to know that he can come to either of us without facing immediate damnation.” He began to rock the swing slowly back and forth. “If he feels he can’t come to his own parents when he gets stuck in a jam, he’ll turn to others for help, and those others may be the shady monsters you’re thinking he hangs out with.”
Trisha glowered into her mug as she let Hohenheim’s hand go. “He’s too immature. He needs a firm hand or he’ll only get worse.”
“Trisha, do you remember when we first met?”
She looked at him with a confused expression. “Of course I do, what’s that got to do with anything?”
He smiled. “I had been partying with Pinako all day. I was high on acid when I first saw you, and had just come from screwing the girl in the apartment upstairs.”
Trisha glared at him. “You never told me that.”
“It didn’t have anything to do with you.”
“It would have been nice to know that you were a druggie when we first started dating.”
He laughed through his nose. “I wasn’t a ‘druggie’, like I said, it was a party. Urey had just gone off to medical school, and you know we were best friends growing up. She and I celebrated his success while trying to drown our sorrows at missing him while he was gone. It was nothing. It didn’t have any bearing on the fact that I was a budding scientist, or that I was looking for the perfect woman to marry and have children with.”
She folded her arms and scoffed, “Well, at least now I know where our son gets it from…”
“Listen, Ed’s a good kid. He struggles with math, but he’s always struggled with that. He’s not out running around with a gang, he’s not out stealing cars or shooting at people, he’s just trying to have a good time with his friends and maybe have a girlfriend for a little while. Sure, he could study a little harder and clean his room more often, but think about it for a second- he would help anybody in an instant, no matter what trouble they were in.” He watched as Trisha’s frown relaxed minutely. “He and Al don’t fight that much considering how different they are, he always helps put groceries away or cleans the garage when you ask him, even if he huffs and puffs about it the whole time. He’s not a bad kid. Don’t punish him like he is.”
The sound of the rain beat down on the roof and the leaves of the trees, splattered from the downspout into the driveway and filled the silence between them. Finally, Tricia reached for his hand again. Her expression led Hohenheim to believe that maybe she felt defeated somehow, that she’d failed in some way in raising their oldest boy.
“It’s hard to let go of him. What if he never matures or smokes that crap for the rest of his life?”
“He’s never going to learn to fly on his own if we don’t let him go.” He went on to remind her that she had raised him into the good person he was today, and that he had all the tools he needed to know the difference between right and wrong. “It’s time to see what he can do, and give him advice when he’s not doing well. Give him a chance. After all, I didn’t smoke pot or drop acid forever- I’m sure he won’t either.”
She closed her eyes and bowed her head. “I will try.”
Internally, he breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe with Tricia chilled out a little, the atmosphere in the house could begin getting back to normal.
“I guess I should apologize to him, huh?” she said, standing up.
“Well, at the moment, he’s not here. He and Al went up to library so he could get some extra help studying for his algebra test. But I’m sure when he gets back he’ll be ready to talk.”
Tricia nodded, then mentioned starting dinner and asked if he’d rather have chicken or pork, then disappeared back into the house. Hohenheim pulled out his phone to text Al, letting him know that phase 2 of their plan was a success so far.
“Phase 1 underway. Be home in 30 min.” came a reply.
“Don’t rush. Be safe. You’re a good brother and son.”
With that, he put the phone away and grabbed the tablet, going inside to see what he could do to help Tricia make their meal.
Twenty minutes after Al had responded to his father, Ed emerged from Ling’s basement, sweaty and red faced, but grinning to himself.
“The boy’s got stamina!” Havoc crowed from the couch as he and Braeda passed a pipe between them.
“Shut up!” he yelled, the bite missing from his tone. “Of course I got stamina!”
Roy laughed. “Whatever, you pre-gamed in the bathroom before she got here!”
“Where’s Winry? We gotta take her home and then get dinner, like, right now,” Al said with urgency in his voice.
“Cleaning up, give her a minute.” He wandered over to where the pipe was being passed around and took a hit. “Thanks for letting me borrow the basement, Ling. I really appreciate it.”
“No trouble, Ed. So long as you don’t mind sharing that space when I finally get Lan Fan to talk to me, it’s all good.”
The basement door opened again and Winry appeared, her hair pulled back into a messy bun on top of her head, a hickey just barely visible near the neck of her shirt. She seemed embarrassed as she kept her eyes on the floor and scurried to Ed’s side. He passed the pipe to her, she took a toke, then passed it on to Ling before leaning down and kissing him.
“Should I vouch for your skills?” she asked quietly.
“Nah, let ‘em think about it a little longer.” He took her hand and got to his feet. “Hate to fuck and go, but I’m still kind of on home incarceration. See ya tomorrow!” he said with a grin. Al, Winry and Ed all went to the front door and put their shoes on, and as they left, Ed asked if Al had a chance to find out if their dad had smoothed things over with their mom.
“So far, so good. I didn’t get any details, but Dad said it was a success.” He glanced back at Winry. “I’m sorry you guys had to do things this way, but it beats getting reamed over it every time.”
She shrugged, pulling a bottle of body spray from her purse. “It won’t be like this forever. Besides, it was quiet down there, and the futon was really comfy.”
They chatted about nothing in particular as Ed drove them to Winry’s house. He leaned over and kissed her before she got out of the beat up little Honda he and Al shared, and Al took up the copilot’s position in Winry’s place. They made it home in between rain storms just before a second downpour began, but not before getting soaked between the street and the porch steps.
With a laugh, Ed smacked Al’s arm and said, “Guess Winry’s not the only one getting soaked today!”
Al groaned, lamenting that his brother had finally lost his virginity and was comfortable enough to make such lewd jokes.
When they got home, dinner was still warm on the stove and no one seemed to be around. Ed and Al each made a plate, went up to their rooms and called it a night. But when Ed went back downstairs to put his dishes in the dishwasher and grab a Mountain Dew, his mother appeared in the doorway.
“Hey,” she said quietly.
Ed swallowed. “Hey.”
“Um, I was hoping we could talk- if you’re not busy.”
Ed wondered if this was something brought on by Hoho’s discussion or if it would be something else. “Yeah, sure.”
His mom walked to the breakfast table in the kitchen and pulled out a chair, and Ed followed suit. For a moment, he wasn’t sure she’d talk to him at all, as long as she was taking to begin the conversation.
“I want the best for you, you know that right?”
Ed blinked. “Yeah, of course.”
“It’s hard for me to stand back and watch you fail classes at school and smoke that garbage… I guess I just really lost it when I saw you and Winry like that, and heard what you’d said to her.” She reached over and grabbed the newspaper that was sitting there from that morning, and showed him an article on the front page, a story about a shooting that involved two teenage boys and a drug dealer.
“I see stuff like this and I wonder how those kids got to that situation. I wonder if their parents were abusive, or if they were working so much that they didn’t have time to pay attention to them. I think about if those boys had enough food in their house or clean clothes on their backs… I try to put myself in their shoes and trace their steps backward to find out what went wrong- and how I could prevent something like this from happening to you or your brother.”
“Mom-” Ed began, but she gently shut him down by raising her hand from the newsprint.
“Your father, as absent as he may have been over the years, said something very wise to me earlier, and I’d like to share it with you, so one day when you have a willful teenager, you will remember it.” She patted his arm and smiled at him. “Sometimes as parents, we do too much. We bring a beautiful life into this world that we treasure and we just do too much. I have held your hand through all these years, trying to raise you up into a good man, and I was so focused on that goal that I didn’t take time to stop and look at what you were already becoming.”
Ed furrowed his brows in confusion. “What do you mean?”
She reached across the table and cupped his cheek. “You already are a good man. I’ve been trying to force my version of what I thought that should be on you. You’ve taken all these things I’ve worked so hard to teach you and do them in your own way.” She turned back to the newspaper. “Now I look at this story and wonder if their mother was doing the same, and in trying to rein them in, she just pushed them further away. And I don’t want you to ever feel like I’m pushing you away. So, I’m going to stop policing you for a while.”
Ed’s eyes widened. “Really?”
His mother nodded. “My little baby bird, I’ve showed you how to fly by example. I’ve given you every tip I can, shown you exactly what to do. Now, we have to see if you can do it.”
Flabbergasted at her words, Ed reached over and grabbed her hand. “Thanks, mom.”
“Please come to me if you need help,” she said with a sniffle. “I want you to know I love you so much and will be wringing my hands at the edge of the nest until I’m sure you’ll be alright.”
Ed grinned as he shook his head. “I’ve been doing okay so far. I think I’ll be fine. But I’ll come to you if I need to.”
“I only have one request.”
‘Oh boy, wonder what this is…’ Ed thought to himself. “Anything.”
She took a deep breath. “If you smoke that pot, don’t smoke it here. I don’t wanna see it. And if you must have sex here, do it when I’m not home.”
Ed nodded. He could definitely do that. “Deal.” He stuck his pinkie out, to swear an unbreakable oath to her on the matter, just like he used to when he was a little kid. She hooked her pinkie with his and stood up to wrap her arms around him. She apologized for the forced hair cut before she kissed the top of his head.
“One question, Mom,” Ed asked as she let go of him. “I know you said I can’t smoke weed here, and that’s fine, but I really need a cigarette after all this. I’ll go out on the porch, is that okay?”
She sighed. “It’s a nasty habit, and very bad for you. But as long as you don’t smoke in the house, I'm okay with that.”
She told him she was going to bed, to make sure and turn the lights out and lock up before he came upstairs, and then Ed was alone once again. He went to the front door and pulled his pack of smokes from his hoodie pocket and went out to sit on the porch swing.
Smoke lingered in the wet night, the rain glinting yellow from the streetlamp across the street as it fell in endless amounts. He ran his hand through his short hair and thought his locks were a fair price to pay for his mother’s (and his) sanity.
“I don’t know if there’s a god or angels out there or alien overlords or what,” he mumbled around the filter of his cigarette, “but thank you. Thank you.”
Chapter 28: Answer That! (and Keep it Cool)
Chapter by SonjaJade
A certain creepo has ratted Ling out to the police in order to save his own skin. Stress and surprises follow soon afterward.
Thank you for the beta, Lynx212!
It was a slow day at the Yao home. Ling lounged around watching Cake Boss as he waited for his laundry to finish. He was just about to get up and make some popcorn when Mei burst in the door, Al and Ed in tow, their faces serious and pale, as if they’d seen a ghost.
“We gotta get rid of all this,” Ed blurted out as he went to the hall closet where Ling kept the prepackaged sale goods organized.
Ling grinned. “Well, yeah! That’s why we sell it!”
Mei rushed to her brother’s side. “No, we have to get everything out of the house! They arrested that Kimblee guy last night and word going around is that in order to get a plea bargain, he’s ratting out everyone he knows who deals, grows or manufactures street stuff! If they come here, they take all of us to jail too!”
Well, that was an instant buzzkill. Literally.
He put his hand on Ed’s shoulder, making him stop unloading the organizational bins onto the hallway carpet. “If we walk out of here with a bunch of back packs and boxes, we’ll look even more suspicious. What if they have someone watching us right now?”
Ed sat down in the floor, looking as if he wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. Al put his arm around Mei’s shoulder as she wrung her hands, agreeing that maybe they should take a moment to think all this through.
Then Ling remembered something. “Wait, let me see if Roy can help us out. Aunt Chris has ties to the police, maybe she can find out something for us.” He pulled his phone from his pocket and prayed Roy would answer.
Chris Mustang’s dreams of muscled men massaging every part of her body were broken by an insistent shaking and she growled when wakefulness dissolved her fantasy filled slumber.
“You’d better have a damn good reason for waking me up on my day off, boy,” she snarled, eyes closed and manicured nails threatening to pierce the pillowcase her face rested on.
“I’m sorry,” her nephew said gently, “I need a huge favor.”
“How huge?” she groaned.
“Just need you to make a phone call to that cop you know, the one you had fake arrest us that time.”
Roy sat down on the edge of the bed and Chris didn’t like how the bed dipped, but she didn’t say anything. “That weirdo Kimblee was arrested last night and the rumor is he’s going to tell them everyone who sells anything in Central in order to get a lesser sentence. Ling- my weed man- he wanted to know if the rumors were true, so that if they aren’t he doesn’t give himself away.” She watched him run his fingers through his bangs. “Of course, Ed’s already panicked and Ling is trying to stay sane, but there’s no doubt we’re all worried.”
She gave a long, annoyed sigh, then grabbed her cell phone and pulled the charging cable out. After scrolling through her contacts, she found Maj. Miles’ number and placed the call.
“Ah, the Mad Madame Christmas! Was not expecting a call from you so early in the day!” the man said when he answered.
“Yeah, me either,” she grumbled, rubbing her eyes. “Hey, I’ve got a quick question for you.”
She shooed Roy off the bed, then sat up and reached for her cigarettes. “I hear someone finally arrested that little meth dealer out by the club. Was that you or someone else?”
He chuckled. “Not me, but he’s in my squad.”
Lighting up, Chris asked, “So is he getting a lighter sentence in exchange for info on other dealers? I have a concerned person asking,” she said, eyeing Roy as he stood off to the side with his hands in his hoodie pocket.
“That’s the word going around. But the department is mostly concerned with anyone dealing meth and opioids- hard stuff. Now, it’s possible that we may have to do some checks on any leads this goon gives us, but we might be able to arrange something on the sly if you know someone who is asking about this.”
She hummed in agreement. “Just what I wanted to hear. You remember ‘Jackie Chan’, right?”
Miles laughed. “Yes! One of the highlights of my career, actually.”
“He and his pals are all worried that something might happen to him. Anything we can proactively do to make sure he stays on the police’s good side?”
“Well, what’s his real name so I can check it against the list of names we have. Kid might not even be on our radar.” She could hear him opening the glovebox on the cruiser he was in, as well as the sound of a blinker clicking in the background.
“What’s his name?” she asked Roy, getting up and going into her bathroom. Once he answered, she shut the door so she could relieve herself. “My boy says his name is Ling Yao. Now, all that kid does is pot- no hard stuff, no ecstasy, just weed.”
“I’ll have to call you back on this, but I’ll let you know something today.”
“I appreciate it, honey. Let me know what we can do in return.” She ended the call and finished up in the bathroom, then came out and addressed Roy.
“He said he’d call me back by the end of the day and let know. And since everything has a price, you can start paying me back by getting me two Egg McMuffins and a large Coke from McDonalds!”
Ling was never one to worry. He knew that if for some reason, Kimblee offered him up to the police that he would tell his father what was going on, and they’d handle it, somehow. No need to worry.
But waiting hours for Aunt Chris’ contact to call her back was excruciating. He kept himself busy by cutting clones from the plants and settling them into bottle terrariums just in case they needed to ditch the whole operation for a bit, then cut as many buds as he could and started them drying in the oven. He worked on his sale stock for a bit, then rolled a few joints and waited.
At last, just when he was sure no one was going to call, his phone rang- it was Roy.
“What’s up?” he asked, hoping his tone of voice wasn’t too freaked out or impatient.
“You’re on the list of names he gave them.”
Ling’s heart sank. “Oh…”
“Don’t worry, my aunt’s friend said they’d do the search themselves so you won’t have to worry about anything. I doubt they’ll even look but they’ll have to at least show up at the apartment and spend about an hour or so there. She’s working something out with them, so I’ll have to let you know what they decide.”
“Should I tell my father? His crop is in with mine, I don’t know how that’s going to look.”
“Nah, everything’s gonna be okay. We just have to wait and see what it is they’ll want in exchange. Might take a day or two, but try not to think about it. Everything’s alright- these cops are good people.”
Ling frowned. “Good as in keep me out of jail or good as in scare the shit out of me at a Christmas party?”
“Just chill,” Roy said sternly. “I’ll call you again when I know what they plan on doing.”
“Alright,” he sighed. “Later.”
As he put his phone away, he decided sitting around the house wasn’t doing anything to release this extra tension. He shouted out to Mei that he was going to go for a walk, then grabbed a jacket and left.
The gas station was far enough away to clear his head, but not too far away to leave him stranded. He made his way through the neighborhood to the main road, then turned the corner to see the 24/7 convenience store gleaming in the night like a last chance beacon of hope. He strolled down the broken sidewalk to his destination, trying not worry about the day’s events, hoping to decide what flavor slushie he wanted before he got there.
Just as he approached the outermost fuel pumps, he heard some people arguing. There were a handful of people at the gassing up some beat up cars who were also looking for the source of the voices. Then, he heard a woman’s voice in the mix.
“I told you, get away from me!”
Ling followed the commotion to the other side of the parking lot. A flash of light in the dark caught his eye, and he spotted three shadows. The glint of reflected light he saw was the length of a blade…
He started staggering toward them, feigning drunkenness. “Hey!” he called, tripping over seemingly nothing. “Hey, any of you got a light?” he fake slurred.
One of the shadows turned around. It was a tall, heavy set, older guy in a doo-rag and a gigantic hoodie. It was no one he knew, but definitely dangerous looking. “Man, get the fuck outta here! Go buy a damn lighter!” the man scolded, his voice annoyed at being interrupted while… doing whatever the hell he and his buddy was doing.
Ling started chuckling. “Broke as a joke friend! C’mon, spark this with me, I’ll share!” he sing-songed as he pulled out one of the joints he’d rolled earlier.
The man blinked and then nudged his friend, a bald headed guy with a too-thin face and circles under his eyes. He shook his shaved head, saying, “We’re busy kid, get lost.”
That guy sounded focused on the woman, and that didn’t sit well with Ling. They were just out of reach of the dirty yellow lights from the gas station, just far enough in the shadows that they could do whatever they wanted to the woman with them, and Ling wanted to be sure the lady wanted to be a part of their plans.
“Maybe your lady friend would like to-”
“Get the fuck outta here, chink!” the second man roared in his face.
Ling was startled and jumped back, and just in time, too. The woman was a blur as she took control of the situation and roundhouse kicked Baldy to the ground, his head connecting with the pavement hard enough to send a loud thud through the air. Just as the first guy realized what was going on, she’d clocked him in his face, hitting him in the nose and causing blood to spurt into the chilly night air. She dashed between the men, grabbing Ling’s hand and racing into the gas station.
The cashier looked up at the woman’s cries for help, saying that two men had just tried to rape her outside and to call the police. The middle-aged clerk picked up a cordless phone and darted to the door, locking it as he dialed 911, and that’s when Ling realized who the woman was.
“I’ve never been so overjoyed to see you in all my life,” Lan Fan gasped, throwing her arms around his neck.
“How the hell did you get into that mess?” he asked, hugging her tightly and still too much in awe of her fighting skills to feel anything but relief coursing through him. But when he felt her begin to tremble, he held her closer, smoothing her hair back from her face. “Shh, it’s alright. Everything’s okay now, you’re safe.” She buried her face in his shoulder as Ling rubbed circles on her back. He watched as three police cars and an ambulance arrived outside, and he did his best to calm the young woman in his arms.
They both spoke to the police, Ling at one patrol car, Lan Fan inside the store. Lan Fan had broken Big Boy’s nose and the other was still knocked out cold and concussed. Both men ended up going to the hospital, and Lan Fan pressed charges against them.
The police decided to keep them both at the convenience store until their parents could come pick them up. Ling and Lan Fan sat on the sidewalk outside and waited, talking quietly as blue and red lights flickered around them.
“I’ve never seen a girl hit anyone so hard in my life,” Ling said with a grin. “You are absolutely the real deal.”
Lan Fan smiled. “Unfortunately, that’s part of the reason I have so few friends- they’re all scared of me.”
Ling picked at a string hanging from the hem of his shirt, mumbling, “Well, I’m not that scared of you. I’m in awe of you.” He liked the way she blushed, grinning as she turned her head away from him. “I know you don’t approve much of my bad habits… but if you’d like to hang out sometime, I wouldn’t bring any of that around you- that is, unless you want me to.”
She dug around in her pockets until she found her phone, a very small, old, flip style phone. “What’s your phone number? I’ll text you so you’ll have mine.”
Ling couldn’t believe it. All he wanted to do was take a walk and get a slushie, and he ended up being a hero to the girl he’d had a huge crush on since the moment he laid eyes on her. He quickly gave her his number, waited for her message, and then saved her info. A few moments later, an old black car that looked like it came right out of a 50’s movie pulled up, and Lan Fan stood.
“That’s my grandfather,” she said as he parked the car.
Ling’s father’s SUV squealed in behind it, nearly taking out where an old pay phone used to be, and he nodded toward it. “That’s my ba-ba ,” he said with a chuckle. “Can’t drive for shit.” They both laughed, standing up as Lan Fan’s grandfather approached them.
He was just a tiny bit shorter than Lan Fan, fit and healthy, a grey mustache to match his gray hair. He spoke in a flurry of Chinese, asking if she was okay, saying he’d assassinate anyone who tried to hurt her, then he glanced at Ling and asked her if he was present when the attack happened.
“Oh, let me introduce you,” Lan Fan interrupted. “This is-”
“Wǒ de míngzì shì Yao Ling,” he said, bowing slightly toward him.
The old man’s eyes widened. “You’re Chinese, too!” he exclaimed. “Were you born there?”
“Yes, just before my parents divorced. When I was two, my father and I immigrated here. Me and my half sister both speak Chinese fluently.” Ling gestured toward the towering man walking toward them. “In fact, there he is now. Ba-ba, I’d like you to meet the girl I saved, Lan Fan, and her grandfather. They speak Mandarin, too.”
Ling’s father towered over everyone, an intimidating presence of muscular manliness- that immediately dissolved into a broad smile and hearty conversation at the news that Ling’s new friends also spoke their language. Lan Fan’s grandfather knew the area where they were from. They two men spoke as if they’d been friends for years and Ling and Lan Fan shared a grin.
The policemen came over to explain the details of the situation, ask if they could be any further help, and then let everyone go home. Lan Fan’s grandfather practically begged them to come over for dinner some time, that they’d have a traditional home cooked Chinese meal and get to know each other better, and Ling’s father agreed immediately. After a round of handshakes between the men and Ling, they split up and went their separate ways.
“Wow!” his father said as they pulled jerkingly away from the gas station. “Imagine meeting someone from our province, right here in Central!”
Ling shook his head. “It’s a shame Lan Fan was nearly assaulted in order to make that meeting happen.”
His father dismissed his comment with a wave of his large hand. “Of course! But look at the positives here! I bet they could introduce us to more local Chinese people! Maybe I could find a proper husband for Mei!”
Ling frowned. “I thought you liked Al?”
“I do, but he’s not Chinese. I’d like for Mei to find someone of her own kind to be with.”
“What about what she wants?”
His father shook his head. “She’s too young to know what she wants. And as long as she’s happy with Al for now, she’ll obey and behave without too much cajoling. Besides, we’ve got years before it’s time to marry her into a good Chinese family. Maybe she’ll get tired of Al on her own!”
As they rounded the corner to their street, they saw another police car in the parking lot. Ling’s stomach knotted up. Why did they have to come now?
“Ba-ba… A guy who deals methamphetamine told the police about our crop.”
For a moment, his father said nothing. Then- “Should I keep driving?”
“My friend’s aunt has connections with them. She called in a favor- I just wanted to let you know we may have to be more discreet in the future.” Ling smiled at him. “Maybe my hero status will give me a few good points!”
His father’s deep laugh was assuring, even if his words weren’t. “If it isn’t, perhaps they’ll let us share a jail cell!”
They parked in their usual spot and climbed the stairs to the second floor. Ling recognized the two officers immediately and waved as he approached the door.
“Nice to see you both again! Would you like to come in?”
The big burly one, the one called ‘Buccaneer’, flashed a wicked grin. “Such wonderful manners! Yes, we’d like to come in! Thanks so much for the invitation!”
“We just have a couple of questions, nothing to be concerned about,” the other one, Miles, replied quietly as Mr. Yao unlocked the apartment door.
The four men entered and Ling offered sodas to the officers as their heads swiveled around, looking around the living room.
Buccaneer grinned. “If you’ve got it, I’d like a jack and coke! Miles is drivin’, don’t worry.”
Miles declined the offer, and Ling went to make the cocktail in the kitchen, gesturing to the table. “Ba-ba, I’d like to introduce you to some policemen I met back last Christmas. This is officers Miles and... “ He paused, then turned and sat a glass in front of Buccaneer.
“I’m sorry, I only recall your name as ‘Buc’.”
Buccaneer took a sip and nodded appreciatively as he took a proper drink. “Smith. My academy buddies call me Buccaneer.”
Ling sat down next to his father. “This is my father, Wu Yao Pan. We’re glad to answer any questions you have for us.”
Miles took a notepad from his breast pocket and opened it up, reading aloud from it. “We have in custody a Zolf Kimblee, who attends your school and was arrested with approximately two ounces of meth in individual bags with intent to sell and distribute. As part of a plea bargain for less jail time in a less secure facility, he offered up the names of several people in the area who also deal drugs, and your name was on the list, Ling. He says that how he got into meth in the first place- your cannabis crop is a better quality than his, so he retired and went on to bigger projects.” He sat the pad on the table and leaned forward. “We’re not worried about weed. We’re worried about harder stuff, stuff that actually kills people and incites violence. The only reason we’re here is so that we can write up a report saying that we came, showed you the search warrant, and didn’t find anything.”
Buccaneer however hummed in thought, however. “I have to ask though, where in the world are you hiding a grow operation in this tiny apartment? Surely you don’t have the whole thing here, right?”
Ling’s father smiled. “Oh yes, it all here!” he said with his thick accent. “We grow in closet- very organized business! Come, I show you!”
Ling was sure his jaw had actually hit the table. What in the world was his Ba-ba doing? They’d just said they didn’t need to actually see anything-
“Wow!” came a shout of surprise from Buccaneer upon being shown to the master bedroom, where the walk-in closet had been converted into a grow room with lights and lots of aluminum foil. “Miles, come check this out!”
Ling followed along behind, then watched as the two men oggled their indoor garden. It was a series of hydroponic root tanks that wrapped around the room at two heights- near the floor and one about halfway up the wall. A small window divided the room, and his Ba-ba was explaining that the larger half was Ling’s and the smaller was his own.
“I have four strain, Ah-Ling have two. He sell more, but I make most profit.” He showed the plants as if he were at a homeowner’s association floral competition. Miles and Buccaneer seemed impressed with the set up, including the long fold away table in the middle of the room where harvests could be organized and dried.
“I’ve never seen anything like it!” Buccaneer gushed, admiring the efficiency of it all. “How much water does it take to do all this?”
Ling replied, “The set up is the most, probably about one hundred gallons. After that you just add to it every day to adjust for evaporation and absorption. Our crops are on separate circulation systems to prevent cross contamination between strains.”
Wu nudged Buccaneer and winked. “Ancient Chinese secret! Ah-Ling must discover secret on his own!”
“Where’s the sale stock?” Miles asked. “With this many plants, you’ve got to have quite a bit on hand, I’d assume.”
“It’s in the hall closet,” Ling pointed. “There’s a box with the scale, grinders and bags at the top. Everything else is for sale. My personal use stock is in a humidor in my room, and my father’s is in a Chinese tobacco box in his.”
“Do you have bongs or pipes? What do you smoke with?” Miles asked, gently touching one of the sticky blooms on a ‘King Kush’ plant.
“We’ve got anything you want to smoke with. If I’m letting someone sample my stuff, I use rolling papers. If I want to smoke, I use the water bong. If I’m entertaining, we have a hookah.” Ling’s tone turned serious. “Listen, we don’t want to cause any trouble. Selling this stuff is what helps keeps our bills paid and food in our bellies. I’m still in school and my father doesn’t read Amestrian, he can barely speak it. What can we do to make sure we stay on your good side?”
The two policemen looked at each other a moment, as if deciding what to say. Finally Buccaneer blurted out, “I’ll pay you to set me up something like this in my basement- but not for weed. My mom is home bound, and she always talks about wishing she could spend time outside again like she used to. Maybe put in some flowers and a few vegetables she can pick off and enjoy, y’know? That would be really nice!”
“Don’t you need bees though? To pollinate the veggies, I mean,” Miles added.
“No, no!” Ling’s father said. He went to the table and pulled a box from under it. In it was a carton of cotton swabs, and he took one out. “You bee in here. Dàmá are male and female, need bee for blooms to grow.” He wiggled the swab with a grin. “You are bee, this is stinger!”
Buccaneer laughed. “You are an absolute joy, sir. Please- I’ll pay you to install it and maintain it, provided you also have a beer with me on days you come over!”
They shook hands on it, and Ling was relieved. Miles added it would look really good for them to be informants on occasion as well.
“If you hear of anything suspicious, pass the word along. We’re glad to completely ignore what’s going on in exchange for valuable information from time to time.”
“Of course, Officer. Anything to help.”
After taking a look at the sale stock, and passing a sample or two to each man, they left and Ling felt his knotted stomach finally unwind. He flopped down on the couch and reached for a pack of rolling papers hidden among some junk in a drawer in the end table. “What a day this has been,” he commented, digging in his pocket for his lighter and small bag of weed. “Too many policemen for my liking.”
His father agreed, slipping back into Chinese now that they were alone. “They were nice though. That big guy- wow! What a character! How’d a guy like that get on the force?”
Ling shrugged as he rolled a joint, saying he thought Roy mentioned he and Miles had been in the army together. “It doesn’t matter anyway. We’ve been spared prison and you’ve got some legit work for a little while. That’s enough reason to count our blessings today, right?” He passed the joint and lighter to his father
“You are wise beyond your years, my son.” He lit up and drew the smoke deep down. As he passed everything back to Ling, he nodded at him. “It’s much more mellow, now. You’ve been fine tuning it, haven’t you?”
Ling smiled. “Maybe we should consider moving into a house. If I start a third strain, we’re gonna need a bigger grow room.”
“Maybe I should think about renting the apartment next door as well- and letting you have your own empire.”
Ling thought about that for a moment- until he couldn’t think any more. “Let’s leave that for tomorrow. For now, let’s enjoy the rest of this busy evening.” He dragged on the joint and passed it again to his father and let the rest fall away for a little while.
Chapter 29: Chivalry or Deportation- You Can Only Choose One
Chapter by SonjaJade
Mei's routine is disrupted when Ling and Ed have to take her to karate class in Al's absence. When her tall, dark, and scarred Sensei smells Chinese Eyes on her, Mei has to play her power card.
Welcome to the Stoner Series, Scar!
When Ling pulled up to the apartment building, Mei rolled her eyes and frowned.
“Hey, sorry I’m late,” he said as she got in the back seat, slamming the door behind her. “My client wanted a sample of the new crop and then couldn’t decide which one he wanted.”
“Can we just please go?!” she shouted angrily.
“Yes, princess,” her half-brother said sarcastically, putting the car into reverse. In the front seat, her boyfriend’s brother had just lit a joint, rolled in the new papers they’d bought that looked like cigarette filters. While Mei recognized that the second hand consumption of the stuff was probably good for her temper, she raged as they sped toward her karate lesson.
“Sensei is going to smell that crap on me and be pissed! Can’t you go for ten minutes without a fix?!”
Ed shook his head. “Relax, I’ve got the window cracked, you shouldn’t smell like anything.”
“Ugggh!!” Mei exclaimed as she covered her face with her hands, praying they hit all green lights so she wouldn’t have to be in Ling’s ‘Smokemobile’ any longer than necessary. Why did Al have to be so damn good at science? If he’d been a little bad at it, he wouldn’t have won first place at the school science fair, and then he wouldn’t have gone to the district competition and placed first, and wouldn’t currently be at the state science fair almost two hundred miles away for the next week. He wouldn’t make her go to karate smelling like weed, that’s for damn sure.
At last, they arrived, and Mei hurriedly exited the car before Ling even brought it to a complete stop at the front door.
“Wait, what time do you get out?” Ed called from the window.
“I’ll take the bus, don’t worry about it!” she called back, scrambling to get to the locker room as class was only minutes away from starting.
Thankfully, she was in her place on time. However, her sensei, a tall middle eastern man with a large scar across his face, seemed to keep looking in her direction. Otherwise, class went off without a hitch and she even managed to get in some good sparring with one of her classmates.
Mei was feeling much better at the end of class, and she’d mostly forgotten all about her brother and his stupid friend. By the next class, Al would be home and their routine could get back to normal. Just as she was about to leave and make the short walk down to the bus stop, her sensei called out to her.
“Mei-chan!” he said loudly in his deep voice. “Could I see you a moment?”
She glanced up at the clock, saying, “Well, I can’t miss my bus, so…”
He approached her. “I’d be happy to take you home if you need me to. I can call your father and see if it’s okay, if you’d like.”
Sensei had a nice car, and it would certainly be better than riding the bus and then walking a few blocks to get home. “Alright.”
They went to his office and he called her father, asking if it was okay for him to give her a ride, and then after the last student left, he asked her if everything was okay at home.
Mei’s brows scrunched up in confusion. “Sure, everything’s fine- why do you ask?”
Sensei folded his big arms and looked sternly down at her. “It’s not everyday that you come racing in here barely on time and smelling like pot, Mei. I want to make sure you’re not getting into trouble that you can’t handle.”
She felt her cheeks heat with embarrassment and her jaw dropped open. “No no no- you’ve got it all wrong! I don’t smoke that stuff! My idiot brother does and he gave me a ride tonight!” When he seemed skeptical, she explained the situation with Al being at the science fair and assured him that she wouldn’t do something to jeopardize all she’d worked toward in the karate program and at school.
“I promise, Sensei- I’m not smoking dope or doing any drugs. My only drugs are video games and my boyfriend.”
Her teacher closed his eyes and gave her a single nod. “Alright. But know that if you ever need help- no matter what it is- you can come to me. I’m not just a martial arts instructor, I can be a really good friend, too.”
“I’m sorry I worried you,” she said quietly, shifting her gym bag on her shoulder. “Stupid Ling,” she muttered as Sensei grabbed his jacket and fished out his keys.
“Brothers are dumb like that sometimes. My brother was really into decoding these ancient scrolls back in our homeland. One time he got so consumed with it that he forgot it was a holy day, and my mother wailed all night long that he was going to burn for eternity for his disrespect to God.” He grinned. “He said smoking weed helped him decipher the texts, that whoever wrote them was probably burning it as incense in a temple. So my brother was stoned a lot, too.”
As they exited and Sensei locked the doors, Mei asked, “And what about you? Were you ever stoned with him?”
He was silent a moment, staring at her as if he didn’t know what to say. Then he smiled.
“I plead the fifth.”
He unlocked his car while Mei begged him to tell her, that she swore she would keep it a secret. However, he refused to tell her anything about his own experiences with weed, but he did treat her to Starbucks on the way back to the apartment.
When he dropped her off, he said, “Listen, I mean it- you’re one of my best students and if you need help with anything, just let me know. I might lecture you about it, but I’ll still help and try to teach in the process, okay?”
“Thanks for everything, Sensei. Have a good night.”
Later that night,when Al called to tell her the results of the regional science fair competition, she told him about the encounter with her karate instructor, and how nervous it had made her.
“I thought for sure he was gonna kick me out of class,” Mei said as she folded her laundry in her room. “Thank goodness Scar was considerate enough to talk to me about it first.”
“You really should tell your dad about that,” Al replied. “He’s paying a lot of money for those classes, if Ling screwed that up for you, I have a feeling he wouldn’t go too easy on him. Scar is one of the best karate teachers in town, after all.”
“Yeah… Ba-ba doesn’t care what Ling does, as long as he doesn’t bother me. Maybe I should mention it. So when are you coming home?”
“I placed third in our region, and tomorrow is the state finals. If I place third or higher there, I go to nationals, but honestly, I think I’ll be coming home tomorrow night. These guys are on a whole different level than me, like genius level.” He sighed. “I’m just glad I had the opportunity to make it as far as I have. Besides,” he purred into the phone, “I miss you. We’re going on a real nice date when I get back.”
Mei giggled. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope you lose big time tomorrow!” When Al agreed, she knew he had no hard feelings about the comment. With good luck wishes and a promise that he’d text her when he found out the results, they bid each other good night and Mei finished putting her clothes away.
When she came out to get a drink before going to bed, she found her father sitting on the couch, reading one of his favorite books from China, ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. She sat down next to him and cuddled up to his side.
“Ah-Mei, is everything alright?” he asked as he put an arm around her shoulders, his eyes never leaving the pages he was reading.
“Ba-ba, Sensei wanted to talk to me after class today… It was Ling’s fault. And I don’t want to be a tattletale, I just want you to talk to him for me, he thought I was silly for mentioning it earlier.”
Her father marked his place and closed his book, then gave her his full attention. “What did he do?”
“He and Ed were smoking in the car when they picked me up for class tonight, and when I arrived, I smelled like Chinese Eyes. Sensei knew right away what that smell was and he thought maybe I was smoking it myself. I just wondered if you could tell him that if I’m in the car with him that he can’t smoke dàmá .”
“I thought you smoked sometimes,” Ba-ba said, reaching for his phone.
Mei shook her head. “Very rarely. It’s just not my thing. I don’t care that he does, I just don’t want to smell like it before I go to karate or school. Most times, Al takes me where I need to go, or you. If Ling ever has to take me anywhere in the future, I don’t want to smell like that.” She gave him her best puppy dog eyes. “Could you please tell Ling not to smoke in his car if he’s going to take me anywhere?”
Her father squeezed her and assured her he would speak to his son about it right away. Satisfied that the situation was taken care of, she kissed his cheek and said goodnight, dreaming of Al’s return and the date they would soon enjoy.
Ling was just placing his third order of Nashville Hot chicken tenders at O’Charley’s when his phone rang.
“Sorry, I have to take this,” he said to Lan Fan as he excused himself from the table. She smiled as he walked toward the bar and answered the call in Chinese.
“Yes, Ba-ba?” he said.
“You ever smoke around Mei again and I’ll send you back to Xing.”
Ling was shocked to hear his father say such a thing, almost speechless. “I don’t understand, what happened?”
In a stony voice, he replied, “Her instructor was concerned she was the one with the addiction. Mei’s your sister- respect her wishes when she asks anything reasonable of you. This is your first and last warning.”
“Yes, Ba-ba. I’m sorry- I didn’t mean to get her into any trouble. It won’t happen again.”
Then, cheerfully, his father said, “Good! Now- how is your evening with Miss Fu going? Is she a hearty eater?”
Ling chuckled, relieved that everything seemed to be well between them once more. “She’s kept up with me, plate for plate. I think I’m in love!”
“I need details when you get home! Enjoy the rest of the night and I’ll see you later.”
Ling ended the call and took a deep breath. It wasn’t often he angered his father, but when he did, the threat was always the same- do as I say or get sent back to China, back to poverty, back to famine, back to disease. Ling was too little to remember much about their province of Xing, but he remembered enough. He remembered shivering in his bed sometimes at night because they couldn’t afford enough coal to heat the shack they lived in. He remembered being dizzy from hunger sometimes. Their chance to immigrate to the US had been a blessing, one he wished his mother had taken advantage of as well.
He returned to his seat, smiling at his date. “It was my father, wasn’t sure if it was going to be an emergency or not, sorry about that.”
Lan Fan didn’t seem to mind at all. “I asked our waitress for refills and told her I wasn’t sure if you’d want another order of chicken or not.” She grinned at him as she cut another morsel for herself. “This was an insanely good idea- all you can eat spicy chicken that’s actually good.”
“Glad someone thinks I’m full of good ideas. Ba-ba just told me to start respecting my sister more or he’s gonna send me back to Xing!”
She shook her head. “No, you can come stay with me and grandfather if that happens. I won’t let you go to that hellhole.”
Ling stopped chewing, looking up from his plate. She went on eating as if she hadn’t suggested he could move in with her and her family if he should ever upset his father that badly. He blinked in disbelief. When her eyes met his, she gave him a beautiful smile and the butterflies in his stomach surged.
Oh, yeah. He was definitely in love. He only hoped she might feel the same.